Tesla plans to unveil self-driving electric trucks in September

Tesla plans to push for automated trucks.

Tesla Inc is developing a long-haul, electric semi-truck that can drive itself and move in "platoons" that automatically follow a lead vehicle, and is getting closer to testing a prototype, according to an email discussion of potential road tests between the auto company and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), seen by Reuters.

Reuters gained access to an email discussion between Tesla and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) about road testing of the trucks.

It's no secret that Tesla has plans to build an electric semi-truck: the idea was floating around as early as September 2016.

Tesla is heavily engaged in autonomous driving developments for cars. If trucks at the back of the formation were able to automatically follow a lead vehicle, that could cut the need for drivers. That might sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but work is that Tesla s getting close to testing a prototype of the vehicle.

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Several companies are working on autonomous driving technology specifically for long-haul trucks, in Silicon Valley and elsewhere.

Tesla declined to comment on the matter, while Nevada officials confirmed that the company had not yet been given a license for the testing. He made no reference to any dates for potential road tests. But a report in Reuters adds a new, if somewhat unsurprising, wrinkle to the mix: the Tesla big rig is probably going to have self-driving capabilities. It's not surprising to see autonomy on Tesla's trucks.

Vehicles that platoon must continually communicate with each other and the infrastructure around them, but the distances between them are far too short to allow a human driver to react in time to emergencies.

"They think the truck doesn't have enough power or it doesn't have enough range, and then with the Tesla Semi we want to show that no, an electric truck actually can out-torque any diesel semi", Musk said in the talk.

But there's more to come, one of the new products being Tesla's promised all-electric semi tractor, apparently for long-haul freight. Such trucks would require huge batteries, he said, so the "cargo essentially becomes the battery".

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