A New Kind Of Beer Run: Uber’s Self-Driving Truck Delivers Its First Shipment (Of Budweiser)

We’ve all needed to make a beer run at one point or another. Whether it’s a pitstop en route to the pregame or an impromptu trip in your jammies to the gas station at 10:30 pm, there’s not too many things that can stand in the way of grabbing you and your crew some much-needed adult refreshments.

But do you ever think about the production cycle? What happens before the moment you slide your arm into the cool freezer to pluck your drink-of-choice from the shelf? I mean, yeah, they gotta brew the beer, package it and ship it on out. And yeah, there’s probably a truck driver involved and someone to unload into the stockroom.

If you haven’t thought about it before, you might want to think about it now since some future technology that used to seem so far-fetched (and frankly impossible) will now be benefiting us on a regular basis.

Earlier this week, Otto, Uber’s child (an acquisition that cost them $680 million), teamed up with Anheuser-Busch to deliver nearly 50,000 Budweiser beers after a 120-mile driverless journey through Colorado.

This was the first autonomous delivery ever and it went even smoother than the Budweiser stocked inside. It’s even better that the technology Gods knew that testing it out on USA’s pride and joy, Budweiser beer, was a great decision.

Now, some proud Americans might be against this technology out of fear it would eliminate jobs for truck drivers, and it could be a threat to all factors of the open road. But I did a little digging and found three great “pros” for why we can (and should) embrace this major new tech development.

1. Self-Driving trucks won’t get rid of jobs.

In fact, there’s a shortage of truck drivers in the US. As of June 2016, there were 48,000 truck driver job openings that have yet to be filled. By 2025, that number is estimated to be 89,000. So, the employment opportunities are there, humans just don’t want to take them. But one thing is for sure, we do need our beer…

2. This technology can actually help current truck drivers.

Implementing this technology into trucks that are currently on the road allows truck drivers to take more mandated breaks by hopping in the back seat while the truck takes on miles of straight highway. They continue to earn money since the truck is still driving, and don’t have to pull over on unsafe side roads or highway shoulders to get their snooze on.

3. It’s safe, they promise!

There is no plan as of right now to have this type of driverless truck cruising through downtown streets where the dangers of pedestrian crossing, heavy traffic or cyclists come into play. It’s designed for long stretches of highway roads and can stay at a safe following distance and speed all the way through. The drivers will operate the truck from launch, and take over before the truck leaves the highway.

Check out Otto making his first delivery and see the future for yourself:


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