UPS to Adopt Self-Driving Technology for Deliveries

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. take charge / teɪk tʃɑrdʒ / (phrasal) – to be in control of something

    My brother is taking charge of the store operations because his manager is on vacation.

  2. immensely / ɪˈmɛns li / (adv) – in a way that is very high in degree or great in amount

    I’m immensely enjoying this book; I can’t put it down!

  3. drop off / drɒp ɔf / (phrasal) – to bring someone or something to another place and leave the person or object there

    My mom drops me off at school every morning before she drives to work.

  4. next-day / ˈnɛkstˌdeɪ / (adj) – describing services that are accomplished the day after they were requested

    My client needs the dress tomorrow, so I booked a next-day delivery service.

  5. emerge / ɪˈmɜrdʒ / (v) – to appear or be noticeable

    Many rumors emerged after the band’s members decided to part ways.


Read the text below.

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.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think integrating self-driving vehicles will improve a delivery service company like UPS? Why or why not?
• Aside from the possibility of job losses, what do you think are other possible disadvantages of using self-driving vehicles for deliveries (e.g. lost packages)? Discuss.

Discussion B

• What are some services that you think can still be improved with technology (e.g. services in restaurants)? Explain.
• How do you think these services can be improved using advanced technology? Discuss.