In the early morning hours of October 20th, an 18-wheeler tractor trailer pulled into Colorado Springs, Colorado, bearing 50,000 frosty cans of Budweiser beer. Normally, this would not be a noteworthy occurrence, but this truck was driving itself, marking the first time that commercial cargo was shipped by a self-driving vehicle.
The journey began 120 miles away at an Anheuser-Busch facility in Loveland, Colorado. The truck — a Volvo big rigs equipped with dozens of cameras and sensors — was one of five owned by Otto, a San Francisco-based self-driving truck company acquired by Uber in August. A human driver piloted the truck to a weigh station in Fort Collins. From there, it drove 100 miles without human intervention to Colorado Springs, with the driver monitoring the two-hour trip from the sleeper berth. But once it entered the city limits, the driver took control.