Tesla wants to test its truck without anyone in the cab.Tesla wants to begin testing a fully autonomous semi truck in the coming weeks, according to sources familiar with the company's plans.
The California-based automaker is currently talking to government officials about testing prototypes in its home state and in neighboring Nevada. Details about the talks haven't been shared with the public, but Reuters reports California decision-makers met with Tesla yesterday to talk about the types of tests that are and aren't permitted.
"To insure [sic] we are on the same page, our primary goal is the ability to operate our prototype test trucks in a continuous manner across the state line and within the states of Nevada and California in a platooning and/or autonomous mode without having a person in the vehicle," Tesla regulatory official Nasser Zamani wrote last April.
Little else is known about Tesla's first truck except for the fact that it will be fully electric. It will take the company into a segment it's never competed in before, one that's going to get really crowded, really fast.
Rivals Uber and Waymo are both racing to bring a self-driving truck to the market, and the United States Army is working on a similar project. Salt Lake City-based Nikola also promises to revolutionize the trucking industry with a futuristic hydrogen-electric semi named One.
Tesla will introduce its electric, self-driving semi truck next month. However, odds are it will be closer to a prototype than to a production model, and we don't expect to see it on the road until 2019 at the earliest.