USPS to trial self-driving trucks

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is set to trial self-driving trucks in Phoenix, Arizona and Dallas for a two-week period.
TuSimple, a self-driving truck company, has announced that the USPS has awarded it a contract to perform five round trips, for a two-week pilot. This trial will haul USPS trailers more than 1,000 miles between the Postal Service’s Phoenix, Arizona and Dallas, Texas distribution centres.
The truck will have a safety engineer and driver on board for the duration of the pilot to monitor vehicle performance and to ensure public safety.
TuSimple will run a series of its self-driving trucks for 22 hours each, which includes overnight driving, along the I-10, I-20 and I-30 corridors to make the trip through ArizonaNew Mexico and Texas.
The freight that flows along I-10 corridor accounts for 60 percent of the total economic activity in the United States.
“It is exciting to think that before many people will ride in a robo-taxi, their mail and packages may be carried in a self-driving truck. Performing for the USPS on this pilot in this particular commercial corridor gives us specific use cases to help us validate our system, and expedite the technological development and commercialisation progress,” Dr. Xiaodi Hou, Founder, President and Chief Technology Officer, TuSimple said.

Sendle CEO comments on AusPost court battle

New kid on the parcel delivery block Sendle has been offering Australia-wide flat rates to small businesses since 2014, though the delivery service has been embroiled in a legal dispute with Australia Post since soon after its inception.
Australia Post has asserted that Sendle’s slogon – ‘post without the office’ – infringes upon their trademark over the word ‘post’.
IP Australia is now making its determination and could take up to three months to make an adjudication.
Logistics & Materials Handling sat down with James Chin Moody, CEO at Sendle, to find out why the company has the national postal service so spooked, and how he feels about competition in the sector.
“Australia Post is going to be around for many years to come – but they are not used to friendly competition in this space,” Moody commented. “At Sendle, we think it makes industry better by improving service levels and bringing prices down – it’s great for everyone.”
Moody noted that this is not the first time Australia Post has used its might to thwart a would-be competitor. Australia Post began legal action against Digital Post Australia upon its launch in 2012, purportedly due to the company’s name infringing on Australia’s trademark, but likely due to the newcomer’s offering of a digital postbox service similar to one soon to be introduced by Australia Post. The trademark battle made it to Federal Court where it was tossed out, a fact which gives Moody added confidence. “You can’t own the word ‘post’,” he added.
When asked whether there was room for both Sendle and Australia Post in the country’s parcel delivery market, Moody pointed again to the benefits of competition. “It’s really healthier – choice is healthier for everyone,” he said. “Australia is poorer with one airline, one bank, one telco, etc. Choice helps friendly competition, prices come down and service levels improve.”
The chances of collaboration between the two delivery companies in the future are slim, Moody shared – at least while Australia Post continues to use its traditional service style. “We believe we’re offering a better level of service,” he said.
“What we’re learning in the age of the Internet, the age of technology, is that you can no longer be 80 per cent good to everybody, you have to be 100 per cent good to somebody. You can’t be 100 per cent good to 80 per cent of the market, but you can be 100 per cent good to 20 per cent of the market, and that’s what we’re trying to be.”
The tools, partnerships and customer support Sendle develops, he shared, are designed to suit small business, and give a viable alternative to those having to line up at the post office. “Sometimes, when you’re really small, none of the big guys want to talk to you,” he said. “Small businesses spend up to 40 per cent of their time on admin and logistics. Let’s free up their time so they can do what matters – building their business.”

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