Innovation

Google’s Self-Driving Delivery Truck Plans

Google has been granted a patent that hints that the tech juggernaut is mulling the development of self-driving delivery trucks — an initiative that Quartz says would come just as Amazon is in the midst of pushing its own drone delivery system.

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The patent rests with what the firm says is an “autonomous delivery platform” for delivery trucks. The site reported that the trucks would be “fitted with a series of lockers” that would be opened with a PIN code sent to the party waiting for the delivery truck. The locker, said Quartz, would be able to be unlocked via credit card or NFC reader. The truck would then continue, post-delivery, along its route or to a depot to pick up more packages.

According to Quartz, there is not all that much detail about just how the trucks would be autonomous, but they do have some of the hallmarks of self-driving car tests that have been conducted by the company. In those tests, the self-driving cars use sensors that can range from video cameras to lasers to sense what may be nearby, utilize maps to navigate roadways and also communicate with other systems to interact with controllers.

The site also noted that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has been pursuing a drone delivery program that is slated to launch next year. That project, known as Project Wing, is in addition to the company’s self-driving car program that is being tested in three cities across the United States.

The race, then, between Google and Amazon centers on whether Amazon can come to market before Google, and there has been no shortage of news centered on the eCommerce giant’s drone delivery service, to be named Amazon Prime Air.

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