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posted by martyb on Thursday August 10 2017, @06:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the semileaks dept.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in April that the company is working on pushing a long-haul electric semi truck to market, which is set to be formally revealed in September. Now, Reuters has viewed e-mail correspondence between Tesla and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles that indicate that the company has discussed testing semi trucks on the state's roads.

The Reuters report also mentioned that the semis would be outfitted with autonomous functions, so they could traverse the nation's highways without a driver in the front seat. The e-mails seemed to indicate that Tesla's semis would "platoon," that is, drive in a formation such that a number of trucks could follow a lead vehicle. It's unclear whether the lead vehicle would have a driver, or operate autonomously with a person in the front seat to monitor safety.

[...] Reuters also reported that California DMV officials will meet with Tesla this week "to talk about Tesla's efforts with autonomous trucks."

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  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday August 10 2017, @08:33PM (2 children)

    by frojack (1554) on Thursday August 10 2017, @08:33PM (#551854) Journal

    Nevada has a lot of roads with one lane in either direction. And they are full of trucks already. Triple trailers are allowed in Nevada, and a few other western states. They have long sections of straight road in Nevada, but even there its difficult to pass these road trains for miles.

    Platoons would be way worse, especially if there were more than a couple trucks and if they were designed to keep the trucks close together so you couldn't dive in between them when passing.

    Plus drivers would fuck with them, deliberately spreading out the platoon by sneaking into the middle and slowly reducing speeds to separate the trucks just for the sport. The platoons would have to be given special convoy privileges to prevent this.

    This is why we built rail roads people!!

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11 2017, @12:15AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11 2017, @12:15AM (#551965)

    Why don't they just make the trucks rise up on supports so that cars can pass underneath? Kind of like Inspector Gadget? Seems pretty simple.

    • (Score: 2) by fyngyrz on Friday August 11 2017, @01:50PM

      by fyngyrz (6567) on Friday August 11 2017, @01:50PM (#552264) Journal

      Why don't they just make the trucks rise up on supports so that cars can pass underneath [on two-lane highways]?

      The truck's stability would be significantly degraded, to the point where this could only be possible on a pure straightaway in perfect repair; the width of the vehicle to pass would have to be considerably less than the distance between the trucks wheels and associated drive mechanisms; the truck would have to remain perfectly predictable in its lane-keeping; the raise, maintain, and lower time would all have to be done on said straight road segment, not just the pass itself; the driver of the vehicle doing the underpass would have to be extremely precise, the less that is so, the smaller the vehicle must be (and it's already small - take a look at the distance between the inside of a tractor-trailer's rear tires sometime. Even ignoring the axles, there's not much room there.)

      In short, this concept is not practical within the bounds of a single lane short of actual levitation, even if both vehicles are operating autonomously.