Google has been granted a US patent for a self-driving parcel delivery truck.
In the patent [No: US 9,256,852 B1, dated 9 February 2016], Google calls the system an “autonomous delivery platform”.
Essentially, it describes a self-driving (aka “autonomous) van equipped with secure package compartments which customers can access by using a smart phone or entering a PIN code on the truck’s “access information interface”.
The van’s onboard communication system will send a message to intended recipients shortly before it is due to arrive at the delivery address, so they can be ready to pick up their parcels.
The internet giant has been one of the pioneers of autonomous vehicles, with its Google Self-Driving Car Project. Google said that its self-driving concept cars have already racked up more than a million miles of road tests and are “currently out on the streets of Mountain View, CA, Austin, TX and Kirkland, WA”.
As previously reported, Google is not the only organization looking to put self-driving delivery vehicles on the road. In the UK, the government-funded Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) will be exploring how autonomous vans can be used to parcel deliveries as part of the Greenwich Automated Transport Environment (GATEway) project which is taking place in south east London this year.
Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office