It appears Elon Musk’s Tesla electric Class 8 tractor will be designed from the ground up with autonomous platooning capability.
That’s the take-away from an email exchange between the Tesla chief executive office and the state of Nevada, as reported by Reuters. Musk is apparently reaching out to Nevada officials in an attempt to get approval for platooning test runs on public highways in the state.
Nevada has been an early leader in state-level pro-autonomous vehicle legislation and policy. The report also indicated Musk will meet with California officials next week to discuss his autonomous vehicle and platooning initiatives.
According to the report, Musk references both autonomous vehicle control and semi-truck platooning in the emails – but there are no specific details as to what level of autonomous control the new Tesla truck will have when unveiled.
Tesla plans to publicly reveal its electric Class 8 truck next month. The exchange between Musk and California and Nevada officials appears to be the first time the Tesla CEO has mentioned autonomous or platooning capabilities in the new truck.
According to Reuters, Nasser Zamani, a regulatory affairs officer at Tesla, wrote to Nevada DMV officials earlier this year, "To insure we are on the same page, our primary goal is the ability to operate our prototype test trucks in a continuous manner across the state line and within the States of Nevada and California in a platooning and/or Autonomous mode without having a person in the vehicle."
No dates for vehicle tests were mentioned in the email exchanges.