Google: from self-driving car to self-driving delivery truck
Watch out Amazon! Google is upping its ground game. While Amazon is busy developing its drone fleet, Google was awarded a patent this week that suggests the company is working on an autonomous driving delivery truck. With both Amazon and Google’s parent company Alphabet heavily investing in self-driving (and flying) delivery methods, it is safe to say this “fad” will become a reality sooner than we think.
Not many details were revealed, but the plan is to create a self-driving truck equipped with lockers. These lockers can be opened by people awaiting their packages, using a PIN code, credit card or NFC reader. The truck will continue on its path to additional waiting parties after a package is delivered, or it will return to a warehouse to reload its lockers. The race to automated deliveries currently taking place between Amazon and Google will be exciting to follow in the coming months. Both companies hope to have their drone programs up and running by next year.
Read more about Google’s new patent here.
Container ships: how big is too big?
Many of you may have already read the news last week about the Chinese container ship, Indian Ocean, which was run aground on the Elbe River near the port of Hamburg. But did you know that it took over 4 days to free the ship and tow it to the port? After several failed attempts, the 1,300 foot vessel carrying 11,000+ containers was brought into the Hamburg port earlier this week by 5 tug-boats. Luckily for the port of Hamburg, all other traffic going in and out of the harbor was not disturbed by the incident.
The Indian Ocean is one of the world’s largest container ships. This incident truly begs the question of “how big is too big.” Hamburg is one of Europe’s most important hubs and with more of these monster container ships preparingto set sail, the question remains as to whether or not these ports can accommodate them. This accident had the potential to cause millions of dollars in damages due to delays had it taken place closer to the port. Only time will tell how disruptive these mega-ships will be across the main ports of the world.
Read more about the Indian Ocean operation here.
From one new mode of transportation to another
Google’s aforementioned self-driving delivery truck is an upgrade to an existing mode of transportation. News broke this week that we might also be seeing a complete new mode of transportation in the form of a Hyperloop, a concept originally presented in 2013 by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Since his whitepaper was released, a significant number of people took notice and began moving Musk’s idea from dream to reality. 3 months after Musk revealed his vision, entrepreneur Dirk Ahlborn gathered together 100 scientists, engineers and developers and created the Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) group. HTT has since conducted a feasibility study and plans to build its Hyperloop along a 5 mile stretch of Interstate 5 in California.
Initial discussions have revolved around the transportation of people, but perhaps transporting goods would be an alternative place to start. Turning a 7 hour journey from LA to San Francisco into a 30 minute ride could have huge implications for the logistics industry. In fact, when Musk revealed his Hyperloop vision in 2013, we covered the topic on our blog, and noted several logistical advantages associated with the creation of a Hyperloop.
Read more about the latest Hyperloop projects here.
Have a great weekend!