U.S. Postal Service Testing Driverless Vehicles for Mail Delivery
UNITED STATES – According to an online news report posted at foxnews.com, the U.S. Postal Service is testing the use of driverless vehicles for mail delivery. The test is running for two weeks and will not feature doorstep delivery but will focus on whether self-driving vehicles from a new startup company can manage a long delivery route and save the postal service money.*
The startup company Tusimple, based in San Diego, California, is supplying autonomous trucks for the postal service experiment. The trucks will carry cargo between Phoenix, Arizona, and Dallas, Texas, and will have two humans inside. The safety driver and the engineer in the trucks can intervene if anything goes wrong, but they will not be driving the vehicles.
During the testing, the self-driving trucks will make five trips to-and-from the two cities while carrying real mail. Experts will determine how efficient the vehicles were compared to vehicles with human drivers, how well the vehicles performed on the roadways, how well the mail was handled, and how much money was (or wasn’t) saved in the process.
The trek between Phoenix and Dallas is more than 2,000 miles, which is a longer distance than a human postal worker could travel without stopping for sleep. The autonomous trucks will only need to stop for fuel, and they will not venture into residential areas. Tusimple believes the vehicles can offer faster, cheaper delivery options for the postal service.
Part of the reason USPS is testing autonomous vehicles is an ongoing driver shortage. Both the postal service and commercial carriers say they are having continuing trouble finding truck drivers, which could mean delivery delays.
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