Once Lior Ron worked for Google. Now he’s trying to make the world’s first self-driving big rig trucks. According to BGR, Ron’s plan is to outfit some of the 4.3 million trucks in the U.S. with tech kits his startup Otto is currently developing. These kits will turn rigs into totally autonomous vehicles.
Also on the Otto team is Anthony Levandowski, the brains behind a self-driving motorcycle that now lives at the Smithsonian and a co-founder/technical lead for Google’s self-driving car. Otto’s team includes an assortment of 40 talented folks whose work history includes stints at Google, Tesla, and Apple.
The Otto team wants trucks to be 100% autonomous in order to save lives and the environment. In an interview with BGR, Ron says that will happen.
“Computers at the end of the day can perceive better, calculate faster, react faster—which means at the end of the day they can drive safer,” said Ron, adding that there were more than 211,000 combination trucks in 2014. “And once it’s in that safety level and we can show that the truck can driver safer than a human being, then the technology should be deployed at scale in society.”
Ron hopes that the autonomous trucks will be on the road in the next couple of years.
“(At Otto) we’re progressing with the highest urgency,” he said. “This shouldn’t be long-term exercise. I’ll be very disappointed if we talk again in four or five years and we don’t have these trucks driving safely on the road.”
BGR points out that “safely” is the key word, especially since a recent Tesla fatality has autonomous driving under high scrutiny.
Here’s is the official Otto video for self-driving trucks:
What do you think of the idea?