Published: Fri, August 11, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Tesla's upcoming electric semi truck will reportedly have self driving capabilities

Now, Reuters has viewed e-mail correspondence between Tesla and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles that indicate that the company has discussed testing semi trucks on the state's roads.

The email, obtained by Reuters, suggests that Tesla has already developed the autonomous platooning technology that would allow trucks to self-drive at constant speed and draft in close proximity to one another.

Tesla has long planned to reveal an electric semi-truck at an event in late September with production launching within two years. The automaker will need to get a self-driving vehicle testing license in the state, but hasn't done so yet according to a Nevada spokesperson.

"It's going to be a cool product and will defy people's expectations on what an electric truck can do", Tesla CEO Elon Musk told investors in May.

Tesla and Uber are not the only companies to look at self driving cars. California's DMV has also confirmed to the news agency that it and Tesla are in talks regarding autonomous trucking.

Since October, Tesla has been adding fully autonomous functions to all Model S and Model X units being built, and announced that the new technology would later be applied to the Model 3.

"Platooning has the potential to significantly reduce the running costs for truck operators and is an easier bridge to a practical, commercial semi-autonomous application in the early 2020s", Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst said Thursday in a note to investors.

Some companies also are working on technology for road trains, a driving formation where trucks follow one another closely. It's unclear whether the lead vehicle would have a driver or operate autonomously with a person in the front seat to monitor safety.

Gonzalez declined to elaborate further and messages to Tesla seeking comment were not returned.

Several other Silicon Valley companies are developing autonomous driving technology and are working on long-haul trucks.

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