While Tesla Inc is developing a long-haul, electric semi-truck that can drive itself and move in “platoons” that automatically follow a lead vehicle, and is getting closer to testing a prototype, California officials are meeting with the automaker’s officials to talk about its efforts with autonomous trucks.
The correspondence and meeting show that Tesla is putting self-driving technology into the electric truck it has said it plans to unveil in September, and is advancing towards real-life tests, potentially moving it forward in a highly competitive area of commercial transport also being pursued by Uber Technologies Inc and Google affiliate Waymo. After announcing intentions a year ago to produce a heavy-duty electric truck, Musk tweeted in April that the semi-truck would be revealed in September, and repeated that commitment at the company's annual shareholder meeting in June, but has never mentioned any autonomous-driving capabilities.
Tesla has been a leader in developing autonomous driving capability for its luxury cars, including the lower-priced Model 3, which it is beginning to manufacture. Tesla declined to comment on the matter, referring us to the previous statements by Musk, who has discussed the truck in tweets and at the annual shareholder meeting. Nevada officials confirmed the meeting with Tesla had occurred and said that Tesla had not applied for a license so far. They declined to comment further.