Tech

FedEx to Use Self-Driving Trucks, Robots And Alexa To Make Deliveries Easier

By Edge Ison , Feb 04, 2017 12:50 AM EST
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FedEx is embracing advancements in tech in its efforts to keep the company standards high. It is reportedly investing in self-driving technology, robotics artificial intelligence to better its delivery services.

FedEx Considering Autonomous Trucking

According to the company's chief information officer, Robert Carter, FedEx is looking at the possibility of having driverless delivery trucks take care of business within small neighborhoods. FedEx has partnered with Peloton Technology to use the latter's semi-autonomous electronically-linked truck platoon system.

Carter also stressed that using fully autonomous trucks is in the company's plans. In fact, it is already working with Daimler and Volvo to develop the tech for its delivery services. Daimler has succeeded in having semi-autonomous trucks drive on highways while Volvo has its self-driving construction truck which was demonstrated in an underground mine. According to Technology Review, Carter believes that the tech will be implemented in the shipping industry within the next 10 years.

FedEx to Employ Alexa

FedEx has also developed an app that integrates Alexa, the popular artificial intelligence from Amazon. The AI-enabled app will allow users to initiate shipments from FedEx by simply talking to a smart device using commands such as "Alexa, prepare a shipment." Carter explains that the new feature will enable customers to "just talk [their] way through and ask the right questions to make sure [they've] completed the work". Once the details are delivered through Alexa, a FedEx truck will then come over to pick up the package and ship it where the customer intends it to be.

A Robot Mailman?

Carter, a self-proclaimed "avid drone hobbyist", is not that big a fan of delivery drones. He prefers the more energy-efficient robot couriers to do the job. Drones are limited by its inability to carry large and heavy packages and can only fly up to 50 miles. Rolling robots can lift heavy loads, travel farther and come to homes and businesses to get packages.

All three techs can possibly work together to create a smooth delivery process. Picture this: customers arrange shipments with Alexa, a driverless truck comes along, and then a robot delivery guy comes to the door to pick up the package. It then returns to the truck which drives on to its destination.

TAG FedEx, Alexa
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