Here are a couple of the deals and tech unveiled by robotic delivery companies during the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) last week.
China’s second-largest e-commerce company, JD.com, displayed an autonomous four-wheeled robot that can deliver packages up to five kilometers. The company also announced the launch of two smart delivery stations in the cities of Changsha and Hohhot. The stations will serve as research and development stations for additional testing of the robots and other last mile innovations.
Udelv, a California-based autonomous delivery startup, debuted the new version of its autonomous delivery van – the Newton. As part of a new partnership, Newtons will be delivering groceries for Walmart in Phoenix and XL Parts in Houston this year.
The Newton is powered by an autonomous driving platform designed by Baidu, the Google of China. The Udelv-Walmart delivery service is in direct competition with another WalMart delivery collaboration in Chandler, Arizona. That collaboration involves Waymo, the self-driving car division of Google's parent company Alphabet.
Did you know?
Amazon, the current market leader in smart speakers, will see its share of the market drop to 63% this year from 67% in 2018 as the e-commerce giant faces tighter competition from Google and other companies. (eMarketer forecasts)
“Level Four will never come as a disruptive, revolutionary technology. It will come very gradually.”
— Daimler chief Martin Daum
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Chugging to victory
Railway Age is now accepting entries for its annual Short Line/Regional Railroad of the year competition. (RailwayAge)
For all the hype around driverless trucking, the space is shrouded in secrecy. Consider, for example, Daimler’s announcement during CES last week that it was going to put a Level Four truck on the road this year. But for all we know Daimler has been running those trucks for a long time, consultant Richard Bishop told the Pickup. “The information is insufficient to make that determination,” Bishop said. Lack of info also makes it nearly impossible to determine which of the many driverless trucks outfits — Waymo, TuSimple, Embark— is leading the way on technical and commercial advances. So where does that leave us? Waiting to see who is going to drop the next bombshell, be it a $570 million investment by Daimler, the shuttering of Uber’s self driving truck unit or the launch of yet another new player.
Hammer down everyone!
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