Tesla’s electric big rig will also be autonomous, reports indicate

| August 10, 2017

Tesla said earlier this year it will unveil an electric big rig in September. Now, reports indicate that truck also will have autonomous capabilities.

Tesla representatives met Wednesday with California state highway administrators, just a month before the California-based electric car maker is expected to debut its all-electric semi tractor. Reports indicate that the meeting, at least in part, dealt with Tesla wanting to test self-driving trucks on the state’s roadways.

A report from Reuters published Wednesday indicated California would be the second state to meet with Tesla. In emails obtained by the news agency, Reuters says Tesla is putting self-driving technology into the electric tractor the company expects to unveil in September and hopes to test in Nevada.

However, neither California officials nor Tesla would confirm the Reuters reports when contacted by Overdrive.

In a statement, California DMV spokesperson Jessica Gonzalez confirmed the meeting took place, but did not confirm the news published by Reuters. “The California [Department of Motor Vehicles] met with Tesla yesterday to discuss Tesla’s efforts involving electric trucks,” she said Thursday.

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Gonzalez declined to elaborate further and messages to Tesla seeking comment were not returned.

Such testing in California will have to overcome several major obstacles, including that any vehicle over 10,000 pounds is not allowed to test autonomous technology on California public roadways. However, Gonzalez says that policy is subject to change.

“The DMV is working with [California Highway Patrol] to develop regulations that cover autonomous commercial vehicles,” she says.

Currently, under California law, an autonomous vehicle is defined as any vehicle equipped with autonomous technology that has been integrated into the vehicle. An autonomous vehicle does not include a vehicle that is equipped with one or more collision avoidance systems, such as electronic blind spot assistance, automated emergency braking systems, park assist, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and traffic jam and queuing assist.

According to the Reuters report, Tesla has not yet applied for an autonomous testing license in Nevada.

In Nevada, manufacturers, software developers and parties interested in testing their vehicles in the state must submit an application to the DMV along with proof that one or more of the autonomous vehicles have been driven for a combined minimum of at least 10,000 miles, a complete description of autonomous technology, a detailed safety plan, and a plan for hiring and training test drivers.

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