Tesla developing self-driving electric truck

Elon Musk

Tesla Inc.'s ambitions to start testing a fleet of self-driving electric semi-trucks is moving forward with the company having discussed obtaining testing licenses in two states, according to a report published Wednesday. An interesting detail is that the vehicles will move in "platoons": a group of trucks will follow a designated leader and travel in close formation to reduce drag and increase efficiency.

Tesla is indicating it's serious about introducing an electric semi by seeking permission to test self-driving versions in California and Nevada.

Nevada has all vehicle types and weights covered, but Tesla hasn't taken any formal action on it yet. It has only now been stated however, that the vehicle will be self-driving.

CEO Elon Musk revealed during Tesla's 2017 Shareholder meeting that the company has been meeting with several heavy-duty trucking companies on development of a Tesla Semi prototype that can be driven like a "sports car". The company will have to wait until government officials approve operation of fully autonomous vehicles before those automated functions can be activated.

Tesla has been a leader in developing self-driving technology for its luxury cars, and is about to start manufacturing the lower-priced Model 3 vehicle.

Tesla representatives met Wednesday with California state highway administrators, just a month before the California-based electric vehicle maker is expected to debut its all-electric semi tractor. Tesla seems to be passing through scrutiny over the safety of using Autopilot since last year's fatal crash in Florida. But a report in Reuters adds a new, if somewhat unsurprising, wrinkle to the mix: the Tesla big rig is probably going to have self-driving capabilities.

Uber has also moved in a similar direction, acquiring the self-driving truck company Otto previous year. However, it appears that the trial with Waymo will need to come to an end before Uber can turn its attention back to self-driving trucks.



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