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Tesla may test its unmanned trucks in Nevada

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Tesla's teaser image of the semi truck

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said during a TED Talk earlier this year that he hopes to unveil the semitruck in September. (Otto later claimed it did in fact have an engineer farther back in the cab of the truck.) It appears Tesla learned Uber's lesson and contacted the state's DMV first, although the Nevada DMV said that Tesla has not yet applied for the necessary permits to test an autonomous semi in the state.

There will be more than one of these self-driving trucks, with Reuters reporting on a viewed email between Tesla and Nevada's DMV. The idea is to have one truck in the lead with the rest following closely behind, slowing down or speeding up at the same time as the lead vehicle.

Technology would allow several trucks to self drive at a constant speed and near each other. More than a year ago, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment held an autonomous truck platooning demo that involved automakers such as DAF Trucks, Daimler, IVECO, MAN, Scania, and Volvo. 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.

Self-driving cars, though, have been tested on California roads.

Tesla reportedly wanted to meet with Nevada to discuss testing of two prototype trucks, so it sounds like the project is quite far along.

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Zamani did not mention any dates for potential road tests but inquired about the terms of obtaining an AV testing license.

Tesla declined to comment on the matter, referring Reuters to the previous statements by Musk, who has discussed the truck in tweets and at the annual shareholder meeting.

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".

While established trucking companies and truck manufacturing startups have poured resources into electrifying local package delivery fleets, battery range limitations have largely kept the industry from making electric trucks that travel across swaths of the country.

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