Autonomous vehicle developer, Waymo and delivery company, UPS have launched a pilot program to use self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans to delivery packages around the Phoenix Arizona metropolitan area.

The vehicles will be tasked with picking up packages at UPS stores and taking them to a local UPS sorting facility. Although the vehicle will drive itself, a driver will be in the cabin to oversee operations.

The company calls its autonomous vehicle technology suite, “Waymo Driver.” It is testing the robotic driving system in vehicle platforms that include passenger cars, vans and heavy-duty trucks. The company’s mission is to use self-driving technology to transport both people and goods.

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

The two companies will analyze whether autonomous ground vehicles improve customer service and network efficiency. They hope to develop a long term partnership to help move the onslaught of goods UPS delivers as part of the e-commerce boom.

The UPS pilot program will start in February.

© 2022 First XV. All rights reserved.