It should come as no surprise that an increasing number of companies are moving away from a traditional workforce and fleet comprised of humans, trucks, airplanes and boats, and moving towards automated fleets made up of smart cars, robots and drones. Here are 5 well known companies that are pioneers in fleet automation with examples of how they’re creating new possibilities for the autonomous workforce.
- Google: Earlier this year, Google Wing achieved a significant milestone, becoming the first drone delivery company to receive Air Carrier Certification from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Air Carrier Certification means that Wing can begin a commercial service delivering goods from local businesses to homes in the United States. The Wing drones had already flown over 70,000 test flights, and more than 3,000 deliveries to doorsteps, driveways and backyards of customers in Australia.
- UPS: In March 2019, UPS announced the use of drones for a logistics program to deliver medical samples at a North Carolina hospital. Working with Matternet, a California drone company, drones operate multiple times a day between a medical building on the edge of WakeMed’s campus and the hospital’s main pathology lab.
- Amazon: Amazon is entering the robot delivery game with an electric hamper on wheels it’s calling the Amazon Scout. The e-commerce giant is the latest company to try its hand at this sort of automated, last-mile delivery solution. The Scout has six wheels, is powered by an electric battery, and moves at a walking pace. Just six devices are currently being trialed in a single neighborhood in Snohomish County, Washington, where they will deliver packages “in daylight hours” between Monday and Friday.
- Lyft: Lyft’s self-driving cars powered by Aptiv have been picking up passengers around Las Vegas for the past year. This week the autonomous ride service hit 50,000 rides. The cars are requested through the Lyft app as usual, but are clearly noted as autonomous vehicles. Lyft works with self-driving company Aptiv to offer the service, which charges riders the same as the equivalent usual Lyft ride. A safety driver is still in the car.
- Waymo: Waymo, Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving tech unit, is expanding testing of robotic semi-trucks on public roads with plans to operate its fleet in Phoenix, where the company began running a paid robo-taxi service late last year. Waymo has talked about using its self-driving technology for commercial trucks and delivery vehicles since 2017, and operated an initial program in Atlanta last year with a small number of semis hauling paid loads for Google’s logistics operation there. After that pilot concluded, the Silicon Valley-based company focused on launching Waymo One, the on-demand robo-taxi service that operates from a base in Chandler, Arizona.