Plotting a path for self-driving postal delivery vehicles
The US Postal Service (USPS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has published a report which identifies “seven distinct ways” the Postal Service could use autonomous vehicle technology for last-mile delivery and long-haul transportation. The OIG said that although there may be some hurdles to full implementation, “now is the time for USPS to begin testing the technology and refining its transportation strategy for the future”.
According to the OIG, applications could include “autonomous vehicles that assist carriers in delivering mail, a mobile parcel locker that is a complete departure from current delivery methods, and autonomous trucks that handle the transportation of mail on highways”.
The OIG added: “While none of the suggested use cases could be fully deployed today, it is worthwhile for the Postal Service to research and test the technology now so that USPS can be ready for the transportation network of the future.”
As the OIG noted, USPS has already started to test the technology and more developments are already in the pipeline.
The OIG published its report on Monday (2 October). And with rather neat timing, the US Senate’s Transportation Committee is holding a hearing today (4 October) to discuss a new bill focused on autonomous vehicles – the long-windedly entitled “American Vision for Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act” .