Published: Fri, August 11, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Tesla may test its unmanned trucks in Nevada

Tesla may test its unmanned trucks in Nevada

Reuters has seen email discussions of potential road tests being negotiated between the company, which for a brief period this year was named the most profitable auto company in America, and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

In order to discuss the possibility of these tests, Tesla regulatory official Nasser Zamani wrote to a Nevada DMV representative, "To insure we are on the same page, our primary goal is the ability to operate our prototype test trucks in a continuous manner across the state line and within the States of Nevada and California in a platooning and/or Autonomous mode without having a person in the vehicle".

Officials at Tesla, the California DMV and Nevada DMV were not immediately available to comment Thursday morning. In emails obtained by the news agency, Reuters says Tesla is putting self-driving technology into the electric tractor the company expects to unveil in September and hopes to test in Nevada.

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Tesla is expected to launch an electric semi-truck at an event in late September with shipments to be within two years. The company will have to wait until government officials approve operation of fully autonomous vehicles before those automated functions can be activated. But a report in Reuters adds a new, if somewhat unsurprising, wrinkle to the mix: the Tesla big rig is probably going to have self-driving capabilities. These companies have been working towards making commercial locomotion autonomous for years now.

Self-driving automobiles are one thing which major tech giants based out of Silicon Valley are pushing for. The advantages include increased aerodynamic efficiency since the trailing vehicles are essentially drafting one another like NASCAR racers but, with autonomy in the mix, they could follow much more closely and save even more fuel. This results in minimal need for manual labor, effectively hit less number of jobs. If approved, this mark the first time any company is allowed to test a humanless self-driving truck in Nevada.

A report from Reuters published Wednesday indicated California would be the second state to meet with Tesla. Reportedly, Tesla had not applied for a license so far for the same.

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