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UPS, the world’s biggest package delivery company, has partnered with high-tech transport company Waymo to test self-driving vehicles in transporting goods.
To add value to its service through innovative delivery technologies, UPS enlisted the services of Waymo, which started in 2009 as Google’s self-driving car project. The two companies are testing Waymo’s driverless Chrysler Pacifica minivans to deliver packages from UPS stores to a sorting facility in Arizona.
During the trial phase, a trained operator will be on board the Waymo vehicles to monitor the operations and take charge if necessary. One of the goals of the pilot testing is to see how the collaboration will benefit the operations and improve customer satisfaction.
According to the chief strategist of UPS, the technology may help expedite shipments to sorting facilities, which can immensely improve customer satisfaction. It may also allow the company to extend the time customers can drop off their packages for next-day deliveries.
The testing period will take place in the first quarter of the year. During this time, the two companies will also team up to create a long-term strategy.
Bala Ganesh, the leader of the UPS advanced technologies group, said that using self-driving vehicles is more efficient. It can help reduce the time that drivers spend on standby in between deliveries.
However, issues on job losses have emerged because of the integration of autonomous vehicles into UPS deliveries. In response, a UPS spokesperson said that the company is concerned about the welfare of its employees, and automated technologies are only meant to help its workers.