Autonomous middle- and last-mile electric delivery vehicle maker Udelv is partnering with software maker Mobileye on a new system to enable round-the-clock use of Udelv’s driverless Transporter automated delivery vehicle (ADV).
The two companies expect to produce 35,000 of the ADVs from 2023 to 2028. The first likely customer is Hertz Corp. subsidiary Donlen. The fleet management company placed a nonbinding preorder for 1,000 of the self-driving delivery vehicles.
The Transporter is the first significant news from Udelv since its custom-made ADV completed the first known driverless delivery in early 2018. Since then, Udelv has engaged in deployment trials, completing more than 20,000 deliveries for multiple merchants in California, Arizona and Texas.
Testing in 2022
Mobileye and Udelv will test the vehicles throughout 2022 before beginning fleet deliveries in 2023. The Transporter has a top speed of 65 mph. The driving range is 250 to 300 miles on a single direct current (DC) fast charge. Its telematics and teleoperation software will be upgraded over the air, reducing downtime.
Mobileye-driven Transporters will be capable of Level 4 self-driving in point-to-point operation. Udelv’s teleoperations system will allow for the maneuvering of the vehicles in parking lots, loading zones and apartment complexes, as well as on private roads.
“The readiness of Mobileye Drive, along with its vast map coverage of North America, Europe and Asia, will allow us to ramp up the production and deployment of Udelv Transporters and rapidly offer the service at scale to our expanding list of customers,” Daniel Laury, Udelv CEO and co-founder, said in a press release.
Mobileye’s branded system will “drive” the Udelv vehicles, an initial chance to prove Mobileye is ready for large-scale deployment in moving goods and people. It is also a proof case for the maturity of Udelv’s delivery technology.
The Transporter could cover 200 to 300 miles a day if used among multiple clients, Laury said. For example, auto parts deliveries during normal business hours; residential deliveries in the evening and bakery or grocery deliveries in the early morning hours.
“B2B [business to business] is low-hanging fruit because of fixed, repeatable routes in less dense urban areas,” Laury said. “We expect to graduate to B2C [business to consumer].”
Rapid scaling and deployment
“Our deal with Udelv is significant for its size, scope and rapid deployment timeline,” said Amnon Shashua, Mobileye president and CEO.
Mobileye bases its technology on what it calls a trinity solution: Road Experience Management mapping technology; rules-based Responsibility-Sensitive Safety driving policy; and True Redundancy, which combines two redundant sensing subsystems based on camera, radar and lidar technology.
The Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) subsidiary is known for expertise in computer vision, machine learning, mapping and data analysis.
Separately, Mobileye plans to deploy mobility as a service (MaaS) autonomous shuttles with Transdev ATS and Lohr Group beginning in Europe. Mobileye also plans to begin operating an autonomous ride-hailing service in Israel in early 2022.