It was not a matter of if, but when– did anyone think that driverless technology’s first commercial delivery would be a load of 2,000 cases of Budweiser beer?
Scot Bathgate sends in this article from the Toronto Star:
“On Tuesday, Otto, the Uber-owned self-driving vehicle operation, announced the completion of its first commercial delivery, having delivered its beer load from Fort Collins, Colorado, to Colorado Springs, a roughly 190-kilometre trip on Interstate 25.”
It was last August that Uber bought “Otto”, a San Francisco start-up with many employees who had previously worked on Google’s driverless car technology.
“Though largely symbolic, the beer delivery marks the first commercial partnership for Otto, which was founded less than a year ago. Terms of the deal between Otto and Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owns the Budweiser brand, were not disclosed.”
“For this initial delivery, Otto’s truck departed Anheuser-Busch’s facility in Loveland, Colorado, in the early morning before reaching the interstate in Fort Collins. The truck drove through Denver — alongside regular passenger car traffic — and navigated to its destination in Colorado Springs without incident. Otto said a trained driver was in the cabin of the truck at all times to monitor the vehicle’s progress and take over if necessary. At no point was the driver required to intervene, the company said.”
Uber is now going to be testing Otto driverless commercial delivery technology on different road types and weather challenges. The company perceives this driverless technology as a potential game changer for commercial service delivery, with annual trucking industry revenue at $720 billion in 2015. Top brands such as Budweiser owners Anheuser-Busch deliver a million truck loads of beer every year.
No word yet on the future of the Budweiser Clydesdale horse driving team.