The Anheuser-Busch self-driving truck, co-developed with driving technology company Otto, heading south on I-25, delivering its first load of Budweiser without any help from a human driver. Photo courtesy of Anheuser-Busch
DENVER, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Anheuser-Busch announced Wednesday that it has, together with technology company Otto, completed the first successful beer delivery using a self-driving truck.
The trailer, fully loaded with Budweiser beer drove itself more than 120 miles on I-25 from Fort Collins, Colo., through Denver to Colorado Springs, without any driver intervention.
A professional truck driver was on board, the company said, and monitored the drive "from the sleeper berth."
"This milestone marks the first time in history that a self-driving vehicle has shipped commercial cargo, making it a landmark achievement for self-driving technology, the state of Colorado, and the transportation industry," Anheuser-Busch and Otto said in a joint statement.
The two companies thanked the "forward-looking" state of Colorado for its assistance and participation in the effort.
Anheuser-Busch and Otto said they set out to develop a self-driving truck "in response to the significant challenges facing the trucking industry" and said that taking drivers out of the driver's seat will: reduce the number of fatal car accidents, 94 percent of which are caused by human error; enable fuel-efficient driving; and solve the driver-shortage problem that puts pressure on drivers to work long hours at the risk of safe driving.
But the companies noted that drivers could still be in the trucks, while they are driving themselves.
"One major opportunity for Otto's technology is that drivers will be able to rest during long stretches of highway, and perhaps even catch up on sleep," they said in a statement. "Otto's self-driving technology has the potential to extend productive hours without forcing drivers to choose between safety and earnings."