Fully Driverless Last-mile delivery car built by ex-Google engineers
On Tuesday, Nuro, a startup founded by previous Google employees with the purpose of accelerating the benefits of robotics for everyday life, unveiled its autonomous delivery vehicle. The car will be used for low-speed, local and last-mile deliveries of, for example, groceries or takeaway orders. The vehicle’s appearance can be described as a ‘giant lunchbox’ with a collection of sensors, cameras and radars on the roof in the shape of a handle.
The purpose of this autonomous car is to not only enhance local businesses that compete with the likes of Amazon, but also to help deal with the influx of last-mile deliveries, while at the same time reducing the amount of traffic accidents due to the size of the vehicle. It’s shorter in width so other vehicles can maneuver around it. Moreover, as there is no driver, consumers can download an app that informs them when the delivery has arrived, and it provides them with a code to open the vehicle. The company is also considering facial recognition. To gain assurance from the public, a fleet of 6 autonomous cars will be deployed to collect data and optimize routes, and this data will be fed into the prototypes. After having received a permit in California, tests on the prototype vehicles will begin on public roads later this year. However, authorization will be needed to operate in some states because of certain regulations.
To read more about this self-driving car project, click here.
Walmart gets stricter on supplier delivery schedule
On Wednesday, Walmart, the American multinational retailer, announced at its annual supplier conference that suppliers will face a fine if they don’t improve their on-time delivery performance for both small and large suppliers. This type of strategy was originally implemented in August, but further changes have been made, which will be applied in April. The changes include full-truckload suppliers delivering orders within one or two days of the initially agreed date 85 percent of the time. Otherwise they face a 3 percent fine of the cost of the delayed items. Smaller suppliers have to stick to a 50 percent threshold to prevent being fined.
This improved strategy is part of Walmart’s efforts to keep inventory low, shelves stocked and it helps to enhance the customers’ shopping experience as it continuously competes with Amazon. Moreover, having a better scheduled delivery window makes the flow of products more predictable. All of these goals help Walmart to increase its profitability so that it can allocate more funds to its online presence as more retailers adopt the omnichannel approach.
To read more about this, click here.
Another Day, another Autonomous Delivery Van
Automation in logistics is still an ongoing trend. This week, Udelv, a northern California startup company, began public testing of its self-driving delivery van, making the first commercial last-mile delivery on public roads in a completely autonomous vehicle. The delivery vehicle is electric and can cover a range of 60 miles on each charge and has rooftop cameras and Lidar sensors. The company collaborated with Draeger’s Market, a local grocer, to deliver two customers’ orders, who unlocked the vehicle with their smartphone on the grocery ordering app. The local supermarket will start to make regular deliveries with this van this week. The company hopes to have 1,500 of these vehicles deployed by 2021.
As a part of the test, a person had to be sitting in the vehicle just in case of an emergency and the vehicle was limited to the speed of 25mph. Also, to meet Californian regulations, the vehicle could only operate on roads with speed limits up to 35mph. This autonomous delivery vehicle will improve customer convenience and the environmental footprint along the supply chain, as well as halving the delivery costs.
More information can be found here.
Have a great weekend!
Header photo: ESB Professional/shutterstock.com