Colorado is Coors country, but it was Budweiser that made history this month in the Centennial State.
On Oct. 20, Otto, the Uber-owned maker of self-driving semitrailers, transported more than 50,000 cans of Bud from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs -- a 120-mile driverless beer run. A driver assisted on the entrance and exit ramps but monitored the rest of the trip from a sleeper berth in the back.
That kind of trip would be illegal in many states -- including Otto's home in California -- because of laws requiring a driver behind the wheel regardless of the vehicle's self-driving abilities. Colorado was an ideal testing ground because of its lack of legislation.
"It's not expressly allowed, and it's not expressly forbidden," said Shailen Bhatt, executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation. "The regulations were written when nobody could envision a car without a driver."
Otto proposed the shipment to the Department of Transportation about three months before the run, Bhatt said.
"If we couldn't say no and we couldn't say yes, we decided to let them do it with qualifications," he said.
The state stipulated hundreds of hours of testing on public roads in both California and Colorado, showing the department how the autonomous technology worked. And, when it came time for the driver to move to the back, the state required that a state trooper convoy escort the truck for the entirety of the trip.