Self-Driving Truck Makes First Delivery

Autonomous trucking made its first (mostly) autonomous delivery recently. A Volvo VNL, using technology developed by trucking startup Otto (which was purchased by Uber back in August), delivered 2,125 cases of Budweiser from Fort Collins, CO, to Colorado Springs. A driver was required to get the truck to and from I-25, but the Otto system controlled the truck for the rest of the 120-mile trip on the interstate, which also passed through downtown Denver.

“The driver is a co-pilot,” Otto co-founder Lior Ron told CCJ Digital. “We’re the technology that helps him be safer and more productive.”

As CCJ reports, Level 4 autonomy – which doesn’t require driver attention – isn’t legal in most states, including Colorado.

Otto self-driving truck - still taken from YouTube video

The 51,744 cans of beer that were delivered each have commemorative designs that say “First Delivery by Self-Driving Truck.”

As for how much Anheuser-Busch paid for the delivery, James Sembrot, the company’s senior director of logistics strategy, told CCJ that they paid “the market average of what we normally pay on that lane.”

Over the past 7 days, the spot market rate on that short haul has averaged $445, according to DAT RateView, which monitors contract and spot rates on more than 65,000 lanes.

Matt Sullivan

Matt Sullivan joined DAT Freight & Analytics in 2014, covering topics for motor carriers, freight intermediaries and shippers. Prior to joining DAT, Matt spent more than 10 years in journalism as a writer and editor for the Anchorage Daily News, Nashville Scene and other publications.