Tesla Wants To Test Autonomous Semi Without A Human Driver

Continental gets Nevada approval to test autonomous cars

Continental gets Nevada approval to test autonomous cars

(There was also talk of a self-driving bus, ICYMI.) Tesla plans to unveil its 18-wheeler to the world next month, and soon after, it wants to start running road tests.

A report from Reuters published Wednesday indicated California would be the second state to meet with Tesla.

The email exchange shows that the auto company is putting self-driving technology into an electric truck, which it plans to unveil in September 2017.

Those are seen as more favorable conditions for self-driving vehicles than the far more diverse circumstances faced by passenger vehicles in a wide range of uses.

The company's main task over the next year is to get its lower-priced Model 3 electric auto into volume assembly at high quality, a process CEO Elon Musk has called "production hell".

Silicon Valley companies have investigated how to build long-haul trucks that have self-drive technology, too, according to Reuters. That's because highway driving is much more predictable than city driving, making it easier for a self-driving suite of sensors and cameras to handle the ride.

"To insure we are on the same page, our primary goal is the ability to operate our prototype test trucks in a continuous manner across the state line and within the states of Nevada and California in a platooning and/or Autonomous mode without having a person in the vehicle", Tesla regulatory official Nasser Zamani wrote to Nevada DMV official April Sanborn, according to Reuters.

"Platooning has the potential to significantly reduce the running costs for truck operators and is an easier bridge to a practical, commercial semi-autonomous application in the early 2020s", Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst said Thursday in a note to investors.

That's the term for automated vehicles traveling very close together at speed, which significantly cuts aerodynamic drag.

Some companies also are working on technology for road trains, a driving formation where trucks follow one another closely.

Peloton Technology is working with Volvo on a similar platooning system to Tesla's trucks.

After recently unveiling the Tesla Model 3, the company is now developing self-driving semi-truck.

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