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Self-driving parcel delivery system tested in California


Chandler, AZ — Parcel distributor OnTrac, announced a partnership with Boxbot, a last-mile logistics and automation startup founded by veteran Tesla and Uber engineers, to test a new system to deliver e-commerce packages and other shipments to consumers.

With Boxbot, recipients can schedule their delivery at a time of their choosing (including evenings), giving e-commerce customers a convenient option that helps them better plan their day and keep their purchases safe. When Boxbot’s autonomous vehicle arrives, customers get a text message alert with a unique code they can use to retrieve packages from its parcel lockers.

“OnTrac understands that the future of our logistics business relies on the well-being of our planet and the sustainability of our local communities,” says OnTrac President, Rob Humphrey. “Working with Boxbot gives us an efficient and reliable partner who shares our focus on not only resource conservation but also providing a great service experience for our customers with every package, every day.”

For several months, Boxbot has worked with OnTrac to test its technology, identify new ways in which autonomy can improve the delivery experience, and tightly integrate within the existing OnTrac delivery infrastructure.

Now, OnTrac and Boxbot will expand testing starting this summer in select ZIP Codes in Northern California. As part of the expanded partnership, Boxbot is now operating as a Regional Service Provider for OnTrac, handling last-mile deliveries through Boxbot’s fleet of delivery vans and drivers.

Boxbot’s prototype delivery van is meant to drive itself, just one facet of the various ways it hopes to improve last-mile delivery logistics. (BOXBOT)

Boxbot will manage these deliveries via a first-of-its-kind system that combines an automated local hub with a fleet of street-based delivery vehicles. Boxbot’s automated local hubs store and sort parcels before automatically loading them for delivery. Boxbot situates these hubs close to residential neighborhoods.

Boxbot’s fleet includes two types of vehicles: parcel delivery vans, and self-driving electric vehicles that can manage more complex deliveries, like those requiring signatures. Boxbot’s delivery vehicles can be reloaded with packages throughout the day at its automated local hubs. Automating this process enables Boxbot’s drivers to get more done in less time, without worrying about loading, organizing or finding packages within their vehicles.

In 2018, Boxbot received an Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. In compliance with California regulations, Boxbot’s autonomous vehicles operate under the supervision of a safety driver during testing.

“Boxbot is a new type of last-mile delivery company, powered by automation,” said Austin Oehlerking, Boxbot’s co-founder and CEO. “We’re excited to join OnTrac in giving people more control over when and how their packages are delivered and helping take the pain out of e-commerce. That means happier customers, lower costs and less theft.”

 


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