FedEx Bets On Automation As It Prepares To Fend Off Uber And Amazon

(MIT Technology Review) When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight, your FedEx package might someday be delivered by a robot.

Rob Carter, FedEx’s chief information officer, says the shipping giant is considering small vehicles that could drive around neighborhoods and make deliveries without human drivers.

FedEx is also researching ways it could further automate the way it transports packages. Carter says the company is working with the startup Peloton Technology, whose semi-autonomous technology electronically links trucks into small caravan groups called platoons. The system, which uses wireless vehicle-to-vehicle communication to enable the driver of a lead truck to control the gas and brakes of a truck following closely behind him, is designed to reduce wind resistance and save fuel. The technology is considered a significant step toward fully autonomous trucks, and Peloton has said it will release it in late 2017.

Carter says FedEx is also “very much interested in” completely autonomous trucking and has partnered with several automakers that specialize in that technology, including Daimler and its Freightliner truck division and Volvo.

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