Introducing San José’s new autonomous grocery delivery service
Autonomous vehicle startup Auto X has recently launched a grocery delivery service and mobile store pilot, which will initially serve an area of around 400 homes in San José, California. The company currently has just two vehicles operating its delivery service launch, but the aim is to soon expand to the surrounding areas in the Silicon Valley as its delivery partnerships increase.
The service consists of two shopping options; the customer can either order via the mobile store for next-day delivery or choose to have the car bring a selection of stock for them to choose from. Auto X director, Hugo Fozzati, explained that using an autonomous vehicle to make several deliveries within one area is more efficient than the traditional truck driven method in terms of economic units. It also offers a more eco-friendly and congestion alternative for the delivery industry.
Moreover, the company claims to provide a more economical alternative to their autonomous competitors such as Alibaba; rather than relying upon several expensive LiDAR components it uses more cameras, which it claims to have a higher resolution.
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DHL trials new program to enhance international returns
The B2C cross-border e-commerce market is vastly growing and expected to reach a value of $1 trillion by 2020. Last year, the cross-border segment grew by 27%, compared to 9% growth in the larger domestic markets. To hack into the segment’s potential growth and manage the surging pressure created by international returns, DHL has introduced a new process that it hopes will create a returns system that is equally as developed as that of domestic markets.
The program is being tested in both directions on the U.S. to UK and U.S. to Australia trade lanes, but it is not yet certain whether it will be up and running in time for the peak returns season in January. The program includes direct returns to senders, including direct returns to product sellers, and return shipment consolidation at U.S. warehouses and distribution centers for item reselling, repurposing or disposal.
DHL has a clear competitive advantage in global e-commerce due to its sheer global market scale and strong relations with custom authorities. The program aims to utilize all DHL enterprise assets to their maximum advantage; this includes DHL Supply Chain – a world leader in contract warehouse and DC space-, DHL Express and DHL Global Forwarding.
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Toyota makes a confident $500m investment in Uber
As mentioned at the beginning of the month, Uber has cancelled its self-driving truck project for the time being to focus on developing its autonomous car sector and technology. Uber’s new strategy to catch up with the competition heavily relies on the establishment of partnerships and collaboration. In line with this strategy, Toyota has invested a total sum of $500m into Uber technologies, for the joint development of autonomous technology for ride-hailing services. Together they aim to overcome the challenge of mass-producing self-driving cars for shared fleets.
The agreement is that Uber’s autonomous driving system will be combined with Toyota’s Guardian technology, which offers additional autonomous safety features. The combined technology will then be integrated into Toyota’s Sienna minivans for Ubers ride-hailing network from 2021. Both companies are lagging behind in terms of technological development. Uber had to bring its testing operations to a halt after the fatal Tempe accident and Toyota has always taken a very cautious approach to the technology due to safety concerns.
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Have a great weekend!