Elon Musk is a master of hyping products and technology that does not yet exist or will not exist for years. Which is why it was surprising when Reuters discovered that not only will Tesla’s often teased electric semi-trucks will get road tests soon, but they will also have autonomous driving from the start.
According to emails between Tesla and the Nevada DMV, the two sides discussed the “potential road tests” of self-driving capabilities. Furthermore, the discussions included Tesla’s desire to test platoons of long-haul semis.
Tesla is not new to self-driving technology. The new Model 3, Model S, and the Model X all come with some form autonomous driving technology. Customers can pay $5,000 to include the technology at the time of purchase. There is also a $3,000 charge to enable full self-driving, which Tesla will enable as soon as the technology is ready.
What is surprising is that not only is Tesla ready to test this technology with its upcoming semi-trucks, but that there was no mention of it from Musk. Nevada is the logical choice for self-driving tests as they are one of the few states so far to hand-out licenses for autonomous vehicle testing.
Tesla is not alone in its self-driving truck ambitions. Self-driving rival Waymo has its self-driving truck program, as does Otto, which was acquired by Uber. However, what sets Tesla apart is that the truck itself will be electric.
Tesla is set to launch the new electric semi-truck in September. We can expect to get a complete breakdown of its capabilities at the event.