retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

I've long said that one of the best use of drones was when a Minnesota company tested the use of one to delivery beer to ice fishermen during the middle of winter.

And now, there's an earthbound corollary. The New York Times reports this morning that "the first commercial delivery made by a self-driving truck was 2,000 cases of Budweiser beer."

Sense a pattern?

The Times writes that "Otto, the Uber-owned self-driving vehicle operation, announced the completion of its first commercial delivery, having delivered its beer load from Fort Collins, Colo., to Colorado Springs, a roughly 120-mile trip on Interstate 25 ... Though largely symbolic, the beer delivery marks the first commercial partnership for Otto, which was founded less than a year ago."

“We think this technology is inching closer to commercial availability,” Lior Ron, co-founder of Otto, tells the Times.

One other note. The story makes it clear that the use of self-driving trucks creates the possibility of a future in which technology will replace human truck drivers. There will be those who will see this as a terrible thing, but it is important to remember that demographic studies show that the nation's population of truck drivers is rapidly aging, and not being replaced by young people yearning for a life on the road. Which means that if we want products to get from one place to another via the nation's highways, self-driving trucks may be essential.

It is an Eye-Opener.
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