Today’s Pickup: UPS partners with self-driving startup Waymo to deliver parcels

UPS partners with self-driving startup Waymo to deliver parcels (Photo: Waymo)

Good day,

Autonomous driving startup Waymo has struck a partnership with UPS to commence parcel delivery on its self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans across the Phoenix region. However, Waymo is not rushing to deliver parcels to end consumers via its minivans. For now, these vehicles will take packages from UPS Store locations to local sorting facilities for processing.

Waymo currently boasts a fleet of more than 600 self-driving vehicles, with some of them being modified for the UPS pilot by removing back seats for package storage. These vehicles will drive autonomously on the roads but will have a Waymo-trained driver on board to keep a watch on operations. 

Did you know?

Cross-border freight moved by all modes of transportation between the U.S. and its North American neighbors in 2019 totaled $107.1 billion, of which trucks hauled freight worth $68.2 billion. 


“A prolonged outbreak in the area could prevent workers from going to work or even cause temporary factory closures, which would weigh on Chinese production. China’s more integral part in the global supply chain today means a decline in its output has the potential to disrupt U.S. production.​”

— Wells Fargo analysts on the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak in China

In other news

Oil falls for sixth time in seven sessions on coronavirus fears, higher inventories

OPEC is considering moving up its March meeting as the effects of the deadly coronavirus continue to exert strong downward pressure on oil prices. (CNBC)

Brexit is here and it’s a Texas-size defeat for European Union

The loss of such a rich, sizable, powerful member state will weaken the European Union’s momentum and its diplomatic weight. (The New York Times)

Tesla is becoming the cheaper electric car

After years of flirting with bankruptcy, Tesla is posting more consistent profits, cutting costs, growing revenue and restraining its chief executive Elon Musk from threatening the company’s solvency. (Quartz)

UPS doubling down on weekend deliveries as e-commerce booms and Amazon looms

UPS said it aims to more than double weekend deliveries in 2020 as package carriers look for ways to satisfy the always-on demands of e-commerce customers. (Reuters)

DHL Express invests $3.8 million in Cleveland operation

The move will accommodate further anticipated international trade growth resulting from a surge in e-commerce and a strong manufacturing presence in the region. (AJOT)

Final Thoughts

Many fuel options have been played up within the alternative fuel segment, of which electric batteries and hydrogen fuel cells have found tangible mainstream acceptance. Fuel cells have been touted to be the next big transition in the transport sector, as they have zero emissions and can drastically reduce the overall carbon footprint of the industry. 

That said, fuel cells suffer from two specific issues that are a hurdle to widespread adoption — the costs associated with the technology and the inefficiencies in transporting fuel cells. 

Chinese scientists have recently discovered a new technique that can generate hydrogen on demand and in real time. This technology uses unique metal alloys that are pressed against an aluminum plate underwater to produce hydrogen. Jing Liu, the study author, has stated that this method has a higher conversion efficiency than current techniques.

Hammer down, everyone!