Look Out for Tesla Self-Driving Trucks in Nevada and California

by Monica Hunter-Hart

Get ready, Nevada and California: Autonomous Tesla semi trucks may be coming to a road near you. On Wednesday, Reuters published an email between a Tesla official and the Nevada DMV revealing that the electric car company is applying for licenses to test its trucks’ self-driving and platooning capabilities across the border shared by the two states.

“To insure we are on the same page,” reads the message from Tesla’s Nasser Zamani to the DMV’s April Sanborn, “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.”

Platooning is when a group of vehicles travels close together at electronically coordinated speeds; the technique increases fuel efficiency by lessening drag.

Reuters reports that Tesla met with the California DMV on Wednesday and has already met with the Nevada DMV. It is not yet clear when these self-driving and platooning tests will begin, though the company has not yet acquired either of the necessary licenses and the semi truck itself hasn’t even been unveiled (it will be next month).

Tesla's teaser image of the semi truck.


We don’t have too much information about the truck yet — CEO Elon Musk is purposefully keeping us somewhat in the dark, and has even teased that people should come to the semi truck reveal because “maybe there’s a little more than we’re saying here” — but we do know that it will be “nimble,” tailored to the needs of heavy-duty trucking organizations, and designed mostly using parts from the Model 3.

The Tesla semi truck prototype will be unveiled in September. The vehicle probably reach scale production in around two years.

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