Tesla Meets With California, Nevada on Autonomous Truck Testing

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Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg News

Tesla Inc. has met with California and Nevada agencies about testing an autonomous semi-truck ahead of CEO Elon Musk’s unveiling of the next addition to the electric-car maker’s lineup.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles met with Tesla on Aug. 9, said Jessica Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for the agency. The department is working with the California Highway Patrol on crafting regulations that would cover testing of vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds, which isn’t allowed yet, she said.

Tesla also has met with the Nevada DMV, spokesman Alex Smith said. The company doesn’t have an autonomous testing license and hasn’t filed an application, he said. Tesla declined to comment.

The states are confirming what analysts have speculated since Musk touted the progress Tesla was making on a semi in April, when he tweeted that the company’s truck team was doing a “seriously next level” job. The auto industry has adopted a system for measuring the performance of autonomous vehicle systems, with higher levels being capable of more driving-related tasks.

The Tesla Model S and Model X electric vehicles already offer a suite of driver-assistance features branded as Autopilot. Musk has said he plans to show the semi-truck for the first time in September.

Tesla’s headquarters are in Palo Alto, California, and its only assembly plant is in Fremont. The company’s battery gigafactory is located east of Reno, Nevada. Reuters reported the carmaker’s meetings with the states earlier Aug. 9.