The first known cross country commercial freight delivery made by an autonomous truck has been completed after a self-driving truck packed with 40,000 pounds of Land O’ Lakes butter successfully made an over 2,800 mile trip from California to Pennsylvania.
According to an article in Mic, the trip took place over the course of three days and happened just before Thanksgiving. A safety driver and engineer road on board to observe the truck’s behavior and intervene if needed. Aside from taking over for “federally mandated breaks” and refueling, the technology accomplished the first known mostly autonomous drive.
According to the article, the truck was tasked with staying on the road during the day and through the night, presenting different lighting challenges for the sensors and cameras to adapt to. Battling elements like rain and snow also tested the system, though Plus.ai reported the truck was largely unfazed by the conditions.
The Los Angeles Times reported that by 2026, as many as 1.7 million truck drivers could be out of a job because of automation.