To compete with Amazon’s delivery infrastructure, UPS has been gearing toward a future where some of its delivery will be electric, autonomous, or even drones. The delivery giant has now taken some steps to make this happen with Waymo Self-Driving Cars.
UPS will be teaming up with Waymo to create self-driving delivery vehicles. They are working on an autonomous Chrysler Pacifica vans to begin carrying packages in the metro Pheonix area. It will be shuttling cargo from UPS Stores to the courier’s Tempe processing hub. A human will still be on board these vehicles to monitor operations.
The pilot of Waymo Self-Driving Cars, will kick off this quarter are designed to “explore customer and operational benefits and illustrate how the Waymo Driver can deliver on behalf of clients safely, efficiently, and eventually, at scale”, Waymo’s Chief Operating Officer Tekedra Mawakana said in a blog post.
The partnership is also not exclusive. Waymo has been developing self-driving system for freight and delivery trucks for years. It has recently identified New Mexico and Texas as possible future routes for autonomous tractor trailers. The self-driving operator have been making deliveries in the Phoenix area for auto retail giant AutoNation. UPS has been quietly hauling cargo to major cities in Arizona since May, using self-driving trucks designed by a startup called TuSimple.
Waymo and UPS see this as part of a “long term plan” to explore how they can operate with one another. For now, the benefits between the two companies is very modest. UPS sees this moving packages out of stores more frequently, will help in increasing the chances that your packages will reach their destination on time and it will also help free up space within the UPS stores.