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Here's when you'll see the first self-driving trucks on the road

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
12/12/2017 (1 month ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

First orders to be filled in 2019.

The self-driving trucks are coming soon. After years of predicting their imminent arrival on a highway near you, we finally have a date, 2019. Anheuser-Busch and Wal Mart have both ordered small fleets of self-driving trucks from Tesla, and other firms are expected to follow. Delivery of the trucks will begin in 2019. 

Tesla plans delivery of the first self-driving trucks in 2019.

Tesla plans delivery of the first self-driving trucks in 2019.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
12/12/2017 (1 month ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Self-driving trucks, 2019, Anheuser-Busch, Wal Mart, Tesla


LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Anheuser-Busch and Wal Mart have both ordered small fleets of self-driving trucks, providing Tesla with their first orders. The number of orders is expected to grow as Tesla gets closer to production. The initial orders are expected to be filled in 2019. 

Tesla has a dubious reputation of missing its own deadlines, but the company still delivers a quality, in-demand product that is well-regarded. No matter what, drivers can expect to share the highways with self-driving trucks around 2019 or 2020 at the latest. 

Anheuser-Busch has ordered 40 of the trucks, and Wal Mart 15. Each truck costs around $150,000 and requires a deposit of $20,000. The vehicles can be recharged in as little as 30 minutes and can go 500 miles between charges, hauling a gross weight of 80,000 pounds. 

Both companies say the trucks will help them save costs and cut emissions, reducing their carbon footprint. They will also be easier on drivers, with autopilot to assist driving on long stretches. 

In the long term, experts expect all driving to be automated, from pick up to delivery, but for now, the trucks require a human to navigate when conditions are complex. Just like with Tesla's self-driving cars, the trucks will be on autopilot under ideal conditions and the drivers will take over off the highway. 

Rival self-driving truck manufacturer, Otto, demonstrated the feasibility of a self-driving truck in 2016. The firm successfully completed a 132-mile beer run for Budweiser in Colorado. The drivers spent the duration of the ride in the cabin behind the driver's seat, monitoring progress on an iPad. To ensure safety, the truck was escorted by the State Patrol, but there were no problems and the precious, golden cargo arrived safely. 

Eventually, the occupation of truck driver will go extinct, but not anytime soon. At present, truck driving is America's top occupation and is among the best jobs a person can get without a college degree. It is an occupation that is also open to people who may not be able, or wish to work in other professions. The job is lonely, and has long hours, and recently wages have not kept up with the rigors and demands of the job. It is also dangerous. But it is a vital job and an honorable trade worthy of respect. 

Self-driving trucks will change the economy as well as the very roads we drive on. It will take some time, probably decades, before we fully appreciate the impact of the changes to come. But at least we know when they are coming, and that appears to be just over a year from now. 

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