Otto, a subsidiary of Uber, a world leader in taxi and limousine services, has put their 18-wheeled big rig on public roads. The test, which included a driver behind the wheel for safety reasons, but in which the truck drove itself almost entirely, was the first of its kind for the company. The truck drove a 35 mile stretch of U.S. Route 33 between Dublin and East Liberty, Ohio. The route took it to the Transportation Research Center, a testing facility.
The section of highway is built to freeway standards and is designated as a test route for new vehicle and transportation technologies can be tested in real-life traffic and conditions. A sensor system will be installed on the stretch of highway next year and will be communicating through a fiber-optic cable network.
Otto will have another on-road test on the Ohio Turnpike, though the location has not been disclosed. The Turkpike is one of the busiest roads between Chicago and the East Coast of the U.S.
This run in Ohio comes off of Otto’s successful 120-mile drive in Colorado last year, in which the truck delivered Anheiser-Busch beer. That set the record as the first commercial shipment by a self-driving truck. A video of an illegal test run in Nevada was made in May.