Self-driving truck uses first shipment to deliver Budweiser. Sigh.
The Otto truck transported 51,744 cans of Bud on the 120-mile trip from Fort Collins, Colorado, to Colorado Springs.
The video commemorating the event is an engagingly shameless piece of co-branding between Budweiser and the self-driving truck startup that was purchased by Uber in August. “We knew we wanted an iconic American brand that was passionate about their products,” says Otto co-founder Anthony Levandowski in a voiceover, as dramatic beer-can-factory footage gives way to swooping drone shots of the truck steering itself down I-25. “Budweiser was a perfect partner.”
The truck driver, Walter Martin, sits serenely in the passenger seat, reading what appears to be a Patagonia catalogue. The future is now!
It’s only the “delivery” part that is a milestone here. Vehicles have been steering autonomously on highways for nearly two decades now.
The major challenge of autonomous driving is what happens when you leave the relative simplicity of the highway for the chaos of urban traffic.
So, take this news with a grain of salt, but do enjoy that country guitar soundtrack. And try not to think of the irony of a technology that could replace so many blue-collar jobs being used to deliver the ultimate blue-collar beer.