The future of self-driving 18-wheelers is here, and the first delivery was one of utmost importance: 50,000 cans of beer.
Otto, a company that manufactures autonomous truck technology, completed its first self-driven delivery on October 20. It partnered with Budweiser to drive 120 miles on Interstate 25 from Fort Collins, Colorado, to Colorado Springs, a path that took the vehicle through Denver. In a way, it only makes sense that the path of the future is being driven by America’s most-drunk macro lager.
“We wanted an iconic American brand that was passionate about their products,” Anthony Levandowski, cofounder of Otto, says in a video about the trip. “Budweiser was the perfect partner.”
That, or Levandowski just wants to take all of the jobs away from the Anheuser Busch clydesdales (and the truck drivers). He wouldn’t be alone either. James Sembrot, senior director of logistics at Anheuser Busch, says in the video that the company is “always looking for new innovations in technology,” including when it comes to the 1.2 million truck loads of beer it ships every year.
The “driver”, Walter Martin, sat in the back seat for the majority of the trip and stated that he didn’t “think I could’ve done that better myself.” Don’t sell yourself short Martin. As Inverse notes, the truck only drives autonomously on highways.
“There were people in Colorado Springs this weekend drinking a Budweiser that was delivered by a self-driving truck,” Sembrot told The Verge. There was no question which cans were brought by autonomous vehicle. The cans had “First delivery by self-driving truck” printed on the bottom.
Well, at least we know that there will still be plenty of beer to drink in our not-so-far-off future ruled by robot overlords. Humans still have to manage the pick ups and drop offs — for now. Uber has owned Otto since August, and also has regular passenger cars operating in Pittsburgh. It’s only a matter of time until Uber Freight autonomous trucks deliver beer to a warehouse, and then an autonomous Uber car delivers said beer to the couch we will never leave.
The future looks bright.