According to USA Today, Anheuser teamed up with self-driving truck startup Otto to haul 2,000 cases of Budweiser from Fort Collins, CO, to Colorado Springs. While the 120-mile drive isn't quite Texarkana to Atlanta, that Otto's autonomous tractor trailer negotiated both Denver's traffic and the windy, mountainous Interstate 25 freeway sans driver is impressive.
But Otto and Anheuser couldn't just set their truck off on the run. As USA Today explains, states across the union are grappling with how to handle autonomous vehicle laws – in this case, the state of Colorado played a direct role in approving the test, evaluating Otto's technology and riding with the company during test runs.
"Safety remained our primary concern, but we believe that in this case the driver is the automated system itself," Colorado DOT spokesperson Amy Ford told USA Today. "We'd like to help get this tech deployed in the real world."
But the appeal of the AB partnership was two-fold for Otto. Beyond simply pushing its abilities in autonomous vehicle safety, the financial incentive for autonomous trucking is huge. Citing numbers from the American Trucking Association, USA Today reports trucking brought in $726 billion last year, while freight transport represented 81 percent of the market. After its successful operation in Colorado, Otto co-founder and Google Car veteran Lior Ron said the company will continue to test its trucks to see how they cope with "other roads and weather."