Plus.ai is an artificial intelligence startup in Cupertino, California that built an autonomous driving system for commercial freight trucks. Recently, their system powered an autonomous tractor trailer that made the world’s first cross-country trip of its kind to deliver butter to a small town in Pennsylvania. It is believed to be the first time a commercial freight truck has made a real delivery of this nature. It appears now that autonomous trucks are likely going to become mainstream before self-driving consumer vehicles. The article that follows does an excellent job of telling the story of how this was all made possible, and features a cool 90 second video as well.
If you happen to live in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, some 50 miles outside of Philadelphia, your next stick of creamy butter just may have been delivered via self-driving freight truck. It’s believed to be the first time an autonomous freight vehicle has made a cross-country trip, let alone a commercial delivery.
Plus.ai, the company behind the self-driving technology, announced the news on Tuesday. The company has only been around since 2016, so this is a particularly interesting feat.
The founders, a group of Stanford Ph.D. students, knew that trucking—which has been experiencing a labor shortage since 2003, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)—is the primary method for shipping goods across the U.S. So they decided to apply their artificial intelligence know-how to long-haul trucking, building out the full-stack self-driving technology needed to make a cross country freight trip possible.