Amazon Exploring Autonomous Car Deliveries
From Apple to Alphabet and Uber to Tesla, lots of big tech giants -- and just about every automaker -- are putting resources into autonomous driving. Now, we can add another to the list: Amazon.
The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed people "briefed on the matter," on Monday reported that the online retail giant has formed a team that's exploring how the company might be able to take advantage of driverless-vehicle technology.
"Amazon quietly formed the team, which has comprised about a dozen employees, more than a year ago as part of its broader ambition to transport more of its goods itself," the report notes.
But unlike Alphabet and others, Amazon isn't looking to build its own autonomous vehicles, at least not at this time. The team "serves as an in-house think tank to figure out how to leverage autonomous vehicles," the report notes.
This isn't the first we're hearing about Amazon's autonomous driving ambitions. A patent approved in January revealed that the Seattle-based company is looking toward autonomous driving technologies to deliver goods more efficiently.
The Journal said Amazon's self-driving initiative may help the company "overcome one of its biggest logistical complications and costs: delivering packages quickly." The company could, for instance, use autonomous vehicles in combination with drones and forklifts to transport goods.
UPS in February successfully tested a package delivery drone that launches from atop its iconic brown vans. The idea is to bring more efficiency to rural routes: the drone autonomously delivers a package to a home then returns to the vehicle, all while the driver continues along the route to make a separate delivery.