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Tesla is developing autonomous trucks

11 August 2017

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).

Tesla is already in talks with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles according to an email discussion that the publication has seen.

The correspondence and meetings with state officials show that Tesla moving forward in a highly competitive area of commercial transport also being pursued by Uber and Alphabet's former Google auto company, now called Waymo.

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".

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Tesla is not the first to explore self-driving or fully electric trucks, but the automaker may have a competitive edge in the freight industry by developing trucks that are both autonomous and electric.

Silicon Valley companies have investigated how to build long-haul trucks that have self-drive technology, too, according to Reuters.

Uber has also moved in a similar direction, acquiring the self-driving truck company Otto a year ago.

Daimler, Volvo, and other European heavy-truck makers have put years of effort into the technology, including numerous demonstrations on limited stretches of highway.

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A self-driving Tesla semi truck is in the works.

That's the term for automated vehicles traveling very close together at speed, which significantly cuts aerodynamic drag. However, it's still unclear whether the lead vehicle would have a driver or operate autonomously with a person in the front seat to monitor safety.

Tesla plans to test the trucks in a "platooning" manner in California and Nevada.

Musk has said that potential customers are eager to get a Tesla electric long-haul truck, but he faces doubt that the company can deliver.

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Tesla declined to comment.