Tesla is looking to test a fleet of self-driving electric trucks in Nevada and California according to new details revealed in an email between the Silicon Valley-based electric auto giant and Nevada's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
"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", Zamani wrote.
Reuters reported on two emails between Tesla and the Nevada DMV that spoke about this potential vehicle.
CEO Elon Musk revealed during Tesla's 2017 Shareholder meeting that the company has been meeting with several heavy-duty trucking companies on development of a Tesla Semi prototype that can be driven like a "sports car". After recently unveiling the Tesla Model 3, the company is now developing self-driving semi-truck. In 2016, Uber acquired self-driving truck firm called Otto, while Google's Waymo is working on its own autonomous truck program.
A self-driving Tesla semi truck is in the works. That is, one lead truck provides the correct input and driving directions for the rest of the platoon to follow. Daimler, Volvo, and other semi-truck makers have invested in the technology and carried out demonstrations on highways.
"However, the time-frame during which even platooning can safely be delivered without a driver in the vehicle remains to be seen and we believe, as per other autonomous technologies, that deployment with full "hands-off and eyes-off" will take longer than many anticipate". According to reports, the electric semi-truck can drive itself in "platoons", following a lead vehicle.
Self-driving cars, though, have been tested on California roads. She said that the DMV was not aware of the level of autonomy in the trucks.
While Musk has previously stated aims to build an electric truck, Tesla has yet to announce any autonomous driving aims for the vehicles, which are seen as the next evolution of greener and safer road freight.
Officials at Tesla, the California DMV and Nevada DMV were not immediately available to comment Thursday morning.