12 August, 2017
The automakers is developing a semi-truck that can drive itself and travel in "platoons" that follow a lead vehicle.
The company is also meeting with California officials "to talk about Tesla's efforts with autonomous trucks", state DMV spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez told Reuters. Most analysts agree fully autonomous semi trucks won't be ready for another 10 years or more; platooning is a precursor to the self-driving technology.
Tesla has yet to comment on their new innovation.
You can say a lot of things about Tesla and its CEO, Elon Musk, but you certainly can't call them slackers.
Tesla already has quite an experience in autonomous vehicle technology - the company's "Autopilot" technology has already been implemented on its Model S and Model X vehicles.
On the other hand, if Tesla can persuade Nevada and California that its vehicles are safe, there's no federal law that would trump their ability to let Tesla run trials on highways.
Vehicles that platoon must continually communicate with each other and the infrastructure around them, but the distances between them are far too short to allow a human driver to react in time to emergencies.
There will be more than one of these self-driving trucks, with Reuters reporting on a viewed email between Tesla and Nevada's DMV.
Several Silicon Valley companies developing autonomous driving technology are working on long-haul trucks.
Just previous year, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $40 million to the city of Columbus, Ohio as the victor of its first-ever Smart City Challenge: and Columbus won with its self-driving cars initiative.
Doing so with an electric truck may prove pretty hard however, due to current battery range limitations that make it tough for electric trucks to travel the long distances involved in long-haul transport.