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Creepy, Driverless Tesla Semi on U.S. 101

Tesla Semi is filmed driving on U.S. 101 without a driver seen behind the wheel. This can totally change the future of trucking and driving.


This video of a Tesla Semi has gone largely unnoticed. First, when I saw it I didn't notice anything extraordinary. For me it was just another Tesla Semi sighting. Tesla Semi sightings are rare, but they have already been seen in number of roads, pulling into a supercharge, testing the Semi's towing capacity and even delivering Tesla Trucks.

But then I noticed that in this video there is no driver seen behind the wheels. Watch it carefully, do you see any driver behind the wheel of this Tesla Semi?

Watch driverless Tesla Semi and click to Subscribe to Torque News Youtube channel for daily Tesla and Automotive industry news coverage.

What is Tesla testing here? It's kind of creepy to see a driverless Semi truck on a road next to you.

The video was taken by Spender Uttley and shared with Torque News through his Twitter. On May 1, 2019 he was driving his Tesla and all of the sudden this Semi passed her, as you can see in the above video. This happened on U.S. Route 101, in California.

Please, let us know what you think about this driverless Tesla Semi in the comments below. Could this be that Tesla is testing an advanced Autopilot, which will totally change the future of trucking?

See you in the next story where you can see a rare spotting of Walmart's hybrid semi truck prototype on the road and please check our previous story discussing how Elon Musk crushed the Tesla Model S and X refresh hopes.

Read and watch also this video story of Tesla Semi backing up into a charging station to charge.

Armen Hareyan is the editor of Torque News and you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.


DeanMcManis (not verified)    July 9, 2019 - 11:19PM

Fully automated driving is indeed a game changer. Especially with semi trucks. This truck was not hauling trailers, but a fully laden, automated, semi/trailer would both put Tesla well ahead of it's competition, and also raise it's liability considerably. Still, automated driving would benefit mass transport greatly, and at least in testing the semi trips could be nearly all highway driving, which has somewhat fewer chances of accidents than congested city driving does.

Mike Smith (not verified)    July 11, 2019 - 7:06PM

Driverless trucking is NOT on the horizon. Aside from the fact that no semi-sized vehicle can hold the power and processing necessary to perform the real-world recognition necessary (besides the human brain), no driverless truck can pull over and put on chains as legally required, and take them off again, again as legally required. The answer to both autonomous driving problems is infrastructure change - but that's not happening soon. So, in the meantime, these driverless vehicles will be boutique use only, in controlled environments and conditions on some nice sunny days. Not exactly a recipe for industry revolution. And, as soon as something outside of its programming comes up, like missing lane markings or motionless objects on the highway, there will be liability sufficient to destroy the companies attempt autonomy - a tragic loss to our future.

J. River (not verified)    July 12, 2019 - 11:00AM

In reply to by Mike Smith (not verified)

Umm, when I was driving a ski shuttle in Snowmass, Colorado for the winter of ‘89/‘90 we had a Swedish-designed “snow chain” system on several of the bigger shuttles (30 seats, maybe) that consisted of two individual chains that were fed down out of vertical tubes between the rear duallies and whirled around in a horizontal plain going under the tires with each rotation. It’s a little hard to describe the system but from what I remember the two chains whirled counter to each other, one going under one set of dual wheels and the other going under the other set of dual wheels in a front-to-back direction (sort of a reverse mixmaster effect). This system was remotely deployed (the chains could be lowered and raised with a dashboard switch) and, in combination with full semi-tractor AWD (which I’m sure Tesla is already designing), I’d bet serious money that it would get you thru any winter “chain control” scenario on the planet. Having seen chainless semi-tractors sliding backwards down Tahoe grades right before chain controls went into effect, I’m sure the conservative programming that Tesla will design into their “winter driving” autopilot software could actually make winter auto pilot driving, in terms of decision making, safer than winter human pilot driving. I have to admit that I’m more than a little intimidated by the thought of a 40 ton (loaded) semi being auto piloted next to me on an interstate at 65mph but, given the accidents and near accidents I’ve seen out on the road involving semi’s, and given that auto pilot effectively rules out fatigue factors, aggressive driving inclinations, “under the influence” and “slower reaction time” factors, I think auto piloted semi’s will ultimately represent a vast improvement in trucking safety and will probably save many lives.

Wesley Burchnall (not verified)    February 24, 2020 - 2:18PM

In reply to by J. River (not verified)

Unfortunately, you are spot on. Automating the chain on and off process will likely be designable, testable and prorotypeably in under 3-6 months. It hasn't been done previously because it was not a problem which needed to be solved (except in the ski shuttle case with the dashboard switch above), as all Truckers were basically capable of throwing on the chains in a short while and removing them in a short while. So why spend money to develop, research and upgrade a truck? There wasn't a reason. Now there is a reason. A very good reason of autonomous driving. Sorry Truck Drivers but your business is on it's way out. 10 years to your career; 20 maximum except for very difficult routes like trucking to Alaska over ice.

DeanMcManis (not verified)    July 12, 2019 - 4:46AM

Not on the horizon? You may well be surprised. Snow chains? That is a very specific issue, and not much of a problem. It is certainly not going to happen overnight, and it's not going to happen everywhere, all the the when it does. When the Tesla Semi comes out I'm sure that it will have the most advanced Autopilot available, but I also do not think that it will support fully autonomous driving initially. Mostly for liability reasons. And even when they start running semis without active driver supervision it will initially be only for highway driving. Tesla owners have driven 1 Billion miles with Autopilot engaged, and although there are other factors that will have to be considered in the Autopilot software for the semi, most driving circumstances will be the same, so it should work just fine driving by itself...eventually. We could see fully autonomous semi driving in 2-3 years if everything works out, but it may be allowed initially for specific use and driving runs until it proves 99% reliable. I do expect to see self driving semi trucks within the next 6 years, but we shall see.