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Anheuser-Busch, Otto complete first self-driving truck delivery of beer

By Margaret Menge
Anheuser-Busch, Otto complete first self-driving truck delivery of beer
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.

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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.

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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.

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But the companies noted that drivers could still be in the trucks, while they are driving themselves.

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"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."

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