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Retrofitting an Existing Truck into an Automated Truck?

That’s exactly what a new startup in Silicon Valley plans to do. One of the founders of Google’s self driving car program as well as another google employee in charge of Google Maps, Anthony Levandowski and Lior Ron respectively, left Alphabet and Google earlier this year to create the new venture. But what makes Ottomotto different than the other Autonomous Driver Technologies currently being pursued?

Ottomotto LLC, plans to build hardware enabling existing 18-wheelers to operate on highways without driver intervention. This is a different approach to large truck manufactures like Daimler Trucks who are currently using and developing autonomous driver technology for new trucks yet to be fully developed. Daimler has been testing two of their Freightliner Inspiration Trucks on roads in Nevada for over a year now. Daimler AG, Volvo, and other manufacturers are working on similar technology.

According to the WSJ, Levandowski’s self-funded startup has begun testing three Volvo AB trucks with the goal of allowing them to travel on the highway without a driver’s intervention.  Currently, many trucks are sold with driver-assist technology, but only a handful of states sanction fully autonomous commercial trucks.

For more information, take a look at these two articles from the WSJ and NAIOP.