UPS is using a self-driving vehicle to deliver packages for retailer customers in a new pilot.
The autonomous vehicles will ship parcels from The UPS Store locations, the company’s franchise network of service centres, to a local UPS sorting facility for processing in the Phoenix Metropolitan area in the US state of Arizona.
The trial will use vehicles produced by Waymo, a self-driving vehicle technology company owned by Google parent group Alphabet, and automaker Chrysler. Waymo engineers will ride in the vehicles to monitor operations.
UPS and Waymo will explore the vehicles’ impact on customer service and network efficiency and use the findings to develop a long-term plan to work together.
Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer, said: “UPS and Waymo are exploring automated and autonomous technologies to enhance network operations.
“Getting packages to our sortation facilities sooner and more frequently, while also creating an opportunity for later drop-offs for next-day service, can add enormous value for our customers.”
Tekedra Mawakana, Waymo chief operating officer, said: “Waymo’s mission is to make it safe and easy for people and things to get where they’re going, and our partnership with UPS allows us to continue developing how our Waymo Driver can facilitate pickups.
“We look forward to working alongside the UPS team to safely and efficiently deliver packages starting in Metro Phoenix.”
Tim Davis, president of The UPS Store, said: “The UPS Store is excited to participate with Waymo in this test to explore ways to provide an even better experience for customers within our network of 4,800 retail locations.
“Moving packages out of stores more frequently can also free up valuable space for franchisees within the retail environment.”