Amazon, when they’re not busy buying giant robots for their CEO, continually focuses on finding ways to send out their products quicker and cheaper than the competition. Now, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the shopping behemoth has assembled a team to focus on driverless technology.
While Amazon doesn’t plan on building their own self-driving vehicles anytime soon, their team will instead focus on how they can harness the autonomous technology to deliver packages to their customer quicker. While this logically points to the use of self-driving delivery trucks, the company could embrace everything from self-driving forklifts to drones (which they’ve already experimented with).
As the technology continues to advance, we could start to see self-driving delivery trucks wind their way across the country. The main benefit of the technology is that it is potentially cheaper and faster than human-driven vehicles. Currently, human truck drivers are only allowed to drive 11 hours within a 14 hour period. Once this 11 and/or 14 hour period has been reached, the driver is legally not allowed to drive for another 10 hours (this forces them to sleep). With a self-driving truck, there’s no need to for a human to rest, which means they can drive to their location in almost half the time.
Amazon, whose team may be looking to eventually partner with an external self-driving company, could eventually find themselves working with Google, Tesla, or even Uber to meet their needs. Self-driving trucks are already a reality as well, as we wrote last year about the company Otto who used a self-driving truck to deliver 50,000 cans of beer over a 120-mile drive from Fort Collins, CO to Colorado Springs. Though Otto was acquired by Uber in 2016, it’s parent company lost a whopping $2.8 billion dollars last year. Both its self-driving trucks and warehouse-robot technology could make it a target for Amazon, and if I were a betting man, I’d wager that Amazon buys a part of/acquires Uber by the end of 2018.
Images: Otto, Wikimedia, Amazon
Source: Wall Street Journal