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

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Amazon Go Goes Back to Cash

Amazon Go Goes Back to Cash

A previous OM in the News post looked at the impact of several laws requiring businesses to accept cash.  In light of these new laws and pressure from customers, Amazon Go will start to accept cash, and so will Sweetgreen.

Sweetgreen dropped taking cash in 2016 when cash sales that had been around 40% of their sales dropped to less than 10%.  By not accepting cash, Sweetgreen was able to perform 5-15% more transactions per hour.


Video Spotlight: Shopping at Amazon Go in San Francisco


This post is based on the Market Watch article, Backlash Against Cashless Stores Forces Sweetgreen And Amazon Go To Reverse Their ‘No-Cash’ Policies, by Jeanette Settembre, April 30, 2019; and the YouTube video, Shopping at Amazon Go in San Francisco, by CNET, October 24, 2018. Image source: Corbis/SuperStock

Discussion Questions:

1. Should retailers accept cash?

Guidance: Perhaps the answer is yes from a social justice perspective.  However, with the 5-15% increase in sales that can be processed in the Sweetgreen example, cashless transactions result in less waiting time, and shorter lines.  Overall, that’s a better customer experience – unless you need to pay by cash.

2. Continue reading

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