UPS and Waymo partner on driverless parcel pickup pilot

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Parcel delivery company UPS and self-driving technology developer Waymo have announced a first-of-its-kind partnership to pilot autonomous vehicle package pickup in Arizona’s Metro Phoenix area.

Starting in the coming weeks, Waymo’s Chrysler Pacifica minivans will shuttle packages from The UPS Store locations to a UPS sorting facility in Tempe for processing.

Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer, said: “UPS and Waymo are exploring automated and autonomous technologies to enhance network operations.

For this pilot, Waymo vehicles will drive autonomously with a trained operator on board to monitor transportation operations

“Getting packages to our sortation facilities sooner and more frequently, while also creating an opportunity for later drop-offs for next-day service, can add enormous value for our customers.”

UPS and Waymo will explore how autonomous ground vehicles improve customer service and network efficiency with a goal of jointly developing a long-term plan for how the companies can work together.

In the Arizona pilot, the vehicle will drive autonomously with a Waymo-trained driver on board to monitor operations.

Tim Davis, president of The UPS Store, added: “The UPS Store is excited to participate with Waymo in this test to explore ways to provide an even better experience for customers within our network of 4,800 retail locations.

“Moving packages out of stores more frequently can also free up valuable space for franchisees within the retail environment.”