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California DMV officials told Reuters they were to meet Tesla yesterday to discuss the company's "efforts with autonomous trucks" as well.

Tesla isn't alone in the pursuit of platooning technology, however.

Tesla is working on electric, self-driving trucks that can travel in "platoons" or road trains capable of following a lead vehicle, according to leaked correspondence with regulators.

Meanwhile, there is no official date out as of now for Tesla to conduct trials of the self-driving semi trucks in Nevada. However, Tesla has been a leader in self-driving luxury cars and it might bring some of its early expertise to gain a lead in self-driving automobiles against competitors. The advantages of platooning is that it's theoretically safer-if the lead truck slows down, the rest automatically follow. The firm is also close to finishing work on a prototype model that it plans to test in Nevada.

The email exchange shows that the vehicle company is putting self-driving technology into an electric truck, which it plans to unveil in September 2017. 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. On July 10, Zamani inquired further to the Nevada DMV about terms for a testing license, an email seen by Reuters shows. Tesla certainly won't be the last to pursue autonomous tech for commercial purposes. Ars has reached out to Tesla for comment and we'll update if we receive a response. The state officials confirmed that a meeting with Tesla did happen regarding the matter. "And if you had a tug-of-war competition, the Tesla Semi will tug the diesel semi uphill".

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.

The company's main task over the next year is to get its lower-priced Model 3 electric vehicle into volume assembly at high quality, a process CEO Elon Musk has called "production hell".

Lithium ion battery researcher Venkat Viswanathan of Carnegie Mellon University said electric long-haul trucking is not economically feasible yet. Such trucks would require huge batteries, he said, so the "cargo essentially becomes the battery".


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