Autonomous Vehicles on the Horizon for USPS®
The United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General released a report entitled Autonomous Vehicles for the Postal Service, announcing plans to use autonomous vehicles in their fleet.
In this report, they outline the major benefits of using autonomous vehicles, including increased driver safety, reduced fuel costs and improved productivity. As this technology continues to progress, the USPS® will experiment with the technology, especially when it comes to last-mile delivery and transportation activities. Since the Postal Service is already planning to replace its vehicle fleet, it may be a good time to add autonomous vehicles into the mix.
There are a number of use cases for this type of vehicle to benefit the USPS, including the most obvious: driving the letter carrier from mailbox to mailbox so that the carrier can prepare mail for the coming addresses more efficiently. Other uses include driverless parking while the carrier makes deliveries, as well as having the vehicle follow the carrier for walking routes. The vehicle can also be used to bring extra mail to the carrier or even be used as a mobile parcel locker, available to customers 24/7 and on-demand.
Testing will begin on rural routes with reduced traffic by the year 2025, and learnings will be applied to optimize use of these vehicles in the years to come.