UPS makes huge RNG purchase
UPS just placed what it claims to be the largest order for renewable natural gas (RNG) in US history. The logistics giant has agreed on a purchase of 170 million gallon equivalents of RNG fuel over the next seven years.
UPS plans to use roughly between 22.5 and 25 million gallon equivalents of RNG per year and it currently operates a natural gas fleet of around 6,100 vehicles in nine countries. By 2025, it expects alternative fuels to make up 40% of its energy purchases for its global ground network. It is projected that this purchase will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by over 1 million metric tons during the seven year agreement. The company hopes to achieve a 12% “absolute” reduction from 2015 emission levels in its ground fleet operations by 2025. “Reducing our absolute emissions means we are decoupling our business /volume growth from our emissions growth”, said Glenn Zacara, a UPS spokesman.
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Self-driving trucks deliver US mail in new pilot
The U.S. Postal Service is launching a new pilot to test the use of self-driving trucks on a more than 1,000-mile mail run between Phoenix and Dallas. This will be its first use of autonomous driving technology for long hauls.
The two-week pilot will start on Tuesday, using bug rigs supplied by autonomous trucking firm TuSimple – a startup that achieved unicorn status earlier this year. The pilot will run five round trips between distribution centers. This roughly 22-hour trip is usually carried out by external trucking companies that use two-driver teams in order to comply with working hour regulations. Level 4 autonomous trucks show great potential for long haul routes as they can “continue operating without the hours-of-service restrictions of a human driver.” The postal service has suffered from losses for several years and is now looking for ways to cut fuel expenses, improve truck safety and optimize fleet utilization. During the pilot, relays teams of safety drivers and engineers will be riding the retrofitted Peterbilt trucks, swapping over during vehicle stops.
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Amazon Arcade: Amazon develops video games for warehouses
Amazon is using a new gamification tactic in its warehouses to increase worker motivation and productivity by making tasks less tedious and encouraging competition between employees.
The e-tail behemoth is installing screens next to workers’ stations which display specially developed Amazon games, such as PicksInSpace, Mission Racer and CastleCrafter. When an employee picks or assembles an order, for example, these actions will be translated into virtual game actions. For instance, the quicker a worker picks and packs an order, the faster their car will move around a virtual track. The games are optional for warehouse employees and have already been installed in five warehouses in the US and the UK. In some facilities, employees may be rewarded for high scores with Amazon “swag bucks”- the company’s currency that can be exchanged for Amazon branded merchandise. The company has so far seen positive results and the games are another way for Amazon to monitor the performance of individual workers. However, Jane McGonigal, a video game designer, warns that “competition is only enjoyable for short time” and when workers start to underperform compared to their colleagues “it becomes less fun and actually counterproductive.”
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Have a nice weekend.