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Tech Vets of Google, Tesla, Apple, and More Look to Bring Self-Driving Big Rigs to Highways

Tech Vets of Google, Tesla, Apple, and More Look to Bring Self-Driving Big Rigs to Highways

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - What if you could pack fresh produce and know that it was going to be able to drive non-stop to its destination?

Drowsiness is a leading difficulty of putting your produce on the road. Drivers often have to stop because they can’t drive through the night, and falling asleep at the wheel is a frequent cause for accidents involving big rigs.

Great minds of the Silicon Valley have united under one startup to eliminate one of the greatest causes for accidents involving big rigs.

San Francisco-based Otto is a new company made up of minds that have been around the self-driven block. 40 veteran minds of Google, Apple, Tesla, Cruise Automation, and other tech-forward companies, have banded together to make this a reality.

With the team is Anthony Levandowski of Google's self-driving car team, which already has automated vehicles on the road in California, Texas, Washington, and Arizona, and former Google Maps lead Lior Ron.

But Otto isn’t looking to put a marshmallow vehicle on the road, but instead to create a hardware kit that can be installed into trucks, according to news source The Verge. Ultimately, depending on if the company forms partnerships with manufacturers, the technology would be meant to be installed either by the factory of the company or by service centers.

The company is testing its technology now with a Volvo VNL 780, but, it told The Verge, it hopes to work with many Class 8 trucks, America’s heaviest and biggest. You can see some of this in the one minute video below.

According to the report, the company will also differ from Google’s self-driving car concept in that it will focus mainly on highway driving, with traditional drivers handling the residential streets, as well as the loading and unloading.

Currently self-funded and with no plans to sell, the minds behind Otto plan to bring the product to market, but have no specific timeline or price. The founders did tell The Verge, however, that it'll be a "small fraction" of a truck's $100,000 to $300,000 sticker.

The biggest hiccup? Road regulations don’t state anything against self-driving trucks, but groups like USDOT and NHTSA are looking to propose framework on self-driving vehicles later this year.

So will we soon be packing up loads with supervisors rather than drivers, able to stay on the road all through the night? AndNowUKnow will let you know as soon as we do.


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Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG, FWB: GGQ1) is a multinational public cloud computing and Internet search technologies...