Is self-driving technology ready for prime time?
What a (Road) Trip
Silicon Valley startup Plus.ai just shipped 40,000 pounds of butter 2,800 miles from California to Pennsylvania in under three days using a freight truck mostly driving itself, The Mercury News reports (a safety driver made sure to take over in case of emergencies while an engineer observed operations as well).
"We wanted to demonstrate the safety, reliability and maturity of our overall system," co-founder Shawn Kerrigan told the paper. According to Kerrigan, the autonomous truck only made scheduled stops, no "disengagements," or unforeseen problems with the self-driving system.
Other companies, including UPS and Volvo have been testing self-driving trucks — but have yet to attempt the cross-country journey.
The Big Butter Run
Demand for butter shoots up around Thanksgiving time every year. "To be able to address this peak demand with a fuel- and cost-effective freight transport solution will be tremendously valuable to our business," Land O'Lakes butter chief supply officer Yone Dewberry said in a statement.
The truck was battered with rain and snow, climbed 11,000 feet in elevation, and navigated winding Rockies roads during its three day journey.
READ MORE: A self-driving truck delivered butter from California to Pennsylvania in three days [The Mercury News]
More on self-driving trucks: UPS Has Been Quietly Shipping Packages on Self-Driving Trucks