In reality, it would create a pack of autonomous trucks that follow incredibly close together, which also cuts down aerodynamic drag.
The correspondence and meeting show that Tesla is putting self-driving technology into the electric truck it has said it plans to unveil in September, and is advancing toward real-life tests, potentially moving it forward in a highly competitive area of commercial transport also being pursued by Uber Technologies Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Waymo. The tech would allow the transport trucks to move in convoy formation with a lead vehicle providing guidance for autonomous follow trucks, according to emails discovered by Reuters in which Tesla discusses the work with the Nevada DMV.
Last year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk reported the first plans to build an electric semi truck. He tweeted in April that it would be revealed in September. It has only now been stated however, that the vehicle will be self-driving. It is not yet clear when these self-driving and platooning tests will begin, though the company has not yet acquired either of the necessary licenses and the semi truck itself hasn’t even been unveiled (it will be next month). More than a year ago, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment held an autonomous truck platooning demo that involved automakers such as DAF Trucks, Daimler, IVECO, MAN, Scania, and Volvo.
Rueters found out that Tesla is in talks with both the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and California DMV regarding road tests and efforts with autonomous trucks.
The industry is seen as lucrative, due to the relatively consistent speeds and little cross-traffic that trucks face on highways. Ars has reached out to Tesla for comment and we’ll update if we receive a response.