USPS Delivers With Self-Driving Semis

USPS Delivers With Self-Driving Semis

A driver shortage is spurring demand for self-driving trucks that operate on highways on long-haul routes.  Interestingly, truck routes are less complicated for autonomous vehicles to maneuver than tricky urban city roads.

The United States Postal Service commissioned a two-week pilot test for TuSimple’s self-driving semis, to perfect the AI-based on-highway autonomous technology.

The semis were loaded with mail to complete five roundtrip runs between distribution facilities in Phoenix and Dallas.


Video Spotlight: Self-driving trucking start-up CFO on its new partnership with USPS


This post is based on the Forbes article, U.S. Postal Service Delivers Mail Using TuSimple’s Self-Driving Trucks, by Alan Ohnsman, May 21, 2019; and the YouTube video, Self-driving trucking start-up CFO on its new partnership with USPS, by CNBC Television, May 28, 2019. Image source: Chesky/Shutterstock

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the operational benefits of autonomous truck hauling services?

Guidance: One benefit is offsetting the shortage of human drivers. It should also save costs; large-scale commercialization of highway autonomous technology means higher productivity when using the truck as the input. Human drivers are limited by law to the number of hours they can drive, for safety reasons. Remove the driver Continue reading

Facebook
Twitter
Ford Goes Further – To the Last Mile

Ford Goes Further – To the Last Mile

Ford is partnering with Agility Robotics to build a two-legged robot called Digit for package delivery.

Digit will unfold itself from the trunk of a driver-less Ford car at the destination, pick up the correct package and drop it off at a pre-designated delivery zone.

Ford is positioning itself to compete in the last mile delivery market. It is estimated that 85% of the last 50 feet from curb to door will be handled by autonomous robots like Digit.


Video Spotlight: Ford teams up with Agility Robotics to create a delivery bot


This post is based on the Venture Beat article, Ford taps Agility Robotics’ bipedal robot to test package delivery, by Kyle Wiggers, May 22, 2019; and the YouTube video, Ford teams up with Agility Robotics to create a delivery bot, by CNBC Television, May 22, 2019. Image source: Shutterstock/Tatyaby

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the operational benefits of Digit for Ford?

Guidance: Product innovation allows Ford to further its driverless vehicle development efforts. Partnership with Agility Robotics allows Ford to expand into the package delivery business.

2. Do you think it is wise for Ford to compete in the last-mile delivery market?  Continue reading

Facebook
Twitter
New Plastics-to-Fuels Plant Coming to Indiana in 2020

New Plastics-to-Fuels Plant Coming to Indiana in 2020

In 2020, Ashley, Indiana will be the home of a new 112,000-square-foot plant to convert plastics into fuel.

The facility is being built by Brightmark Energy out of California.  The plant will convert 100,000 tons of plastics into 18 million gallons of fuel for BP.

Besides contributing to the environment, 136 full-time jobs will be created once the plant becomes operational.


Video Spotlight: Plastics 101 | National Geographic


This post is based on the Inside Indiana Business article, Construction to begin on Plastics-to-Fuel Plant, by Alex Brown, May 22, 2019; and the YouTube video, Plastics 101, by National Geographic, May 18, 2018. Image source: Ingram Publishing/SuperStock

Discussion Questions:

1. Why is Brightmark building a facility to convert plastics to fuel? What are the environmental benefits?

Guidance: Converting plastics waste into fuel makes economic sense for Brightmark. A buyer is already secured for the fuel. A key environmental benefit is the diversion of plastic from landfills and oceans.

2. What facility location factors influenced Brightmark’s decision to build a facility in Ashley, Indiana?

Guidance: Government incentives include $1 million in tax credits and training grants. Ashley has labor availability, and proximity to a source of plastic waste.

Facebook
Twitter