Budweiser gives “One for the road” a new meaning


Technology is an amazing thing. There have been advances that allow us to now do things that were unimaginable 25 years ago. We store our photos and important documents in a place called the Cloud, which many people think is a real place in the sky. Our phone calls and communications are now sent over an invisible wireless system that years ago would have been the stuff of science fiction.

If you think that you’ve seen it all, then you’re in for another technology first- the self driving beer truck. Now I know that for a lot of people this would be a perfect match but if you’re picturing yourself going along in your pickup, sipping on a cold one with no risk of a DUI, I hate to ruin the dream.

The reality is that Anheuser-Busch joined with Uber’s new freight division and the transportation company, Otto, to test a new retro-fit technology that turns a regular semi truck into a self-driving vehicle. The mission was to drive 51,744 cans of Budweiser from Fort Collins, through downtown Denver, to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Cameras, radar and sensors were mounted on the truck to “see” the road. The Otto technology system controlled the acceleration, braking, and steering of the truck from exit-to-exit without any human intervention. For safety’s sake, a driver was in the truck during the 120 mile drive but monitored the trip from the sleeper compartment in the back.

With this successful test of the self-driving technology, Otto feels that this will be the beginning of a safer and less tiring way for truck drivers to travel. It is their belief that this can help reduce collisions, incidents of aggressive driving and improve fuel efficiency. While this will give drivers a break on interstate runs, they will still need to drive in congested areas.

To mark the occasion, Anheuser-Busch created a special set of Budweiser cans with the Otto logo above the slogan, “First Delivery by Self-Driving Truck”. Brendan Spaar wonders how soon it will be before these show up on eBay.