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Tesla Close To Testing Self-Driving Semi Truck, Going By Emails Between Tesla & Nevada DMV

Tesla is getting closer to the point of testing a long-haul, self-driving electric semi truck, going by recent emails between the company and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles that Reuters reported on.

How much closer? It’s hard to say, especially when one considers the economic hurdles that would have to be surpassed for long-haul electric semi truck use to make sense. Presumably, Tesla’s development timeline isn’t too optimistic, but we don’t have much insight into what that timeline is — and, remember, this is Tesla that we’re talking about.

Interestingly, the emails reveal that the company’s trucks are intended to utilize platooning tech, which could perhaps help to offset some of the fuel-efficiency problems inherent in the idea of long-haul electric semi trucks.

Likely in relation to this, Tesla also held a meeting with California officials that was reportedly about “Tesla’s efforts with autonomous trucks,” to use a DMV spokespersons words.

Reuters provides more: “An email exchange in May and June between Tesla and Nevada DMV representatives included an agenda for a June 16 meeting, along with the Nevada Department of Transportation, to discuss testing of two prototype trucks in Nevada, according to the exchange seen by Reuters.

“‘To insure 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 to Nevada DMV official April Sanborn. He made no reference to any dates for potential road tests.

“No companies yet have tested self-driving trucks in Nevada without a person in the cab. On July 10, Zamani inquired further to the Nevada DMV about terms for a testing license, an email seen by Reuters shows.

“… California DMV spokeswoman Gonzalez said that Tesla had requested a meeting on Wednesday to introduce new staff and talk about Tesla’s efforts with autonomous trucks. She said that the DMV was not aware of the level of autonomy in the trucks. Tesla declined to comment on the matter, referring Reuters to the previous statements by Musk, who has discussed the truck in tweets and at the annual shareholder meeting.”

As a reminder here, Tesla CEO Elon Musk previously revealed that there will be an unveiling event of sorts for the company’s electric semi truck in September. Of course, the product won’t by any means be a finished one, but a working prototype seems likely. Going by these emails, the unveiling event may showcase new self-driving and platooning semi-truck tech.

 
Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

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