Google’s Self Driving Delivery Truck Sounds More Plausible than Amazon Prime Air

Google self-driving delivery truck 1 photo
Photo: Google
We’re still waiting for that announcement saying that Google - or Apple, or a new company yet to be founded by control-freak Elon Musk - filed a patent for teleporting its products directly to the customers’ tables, but in the meantime, something more a lot more plausible has emerged from the tech giant.
Amazon made big waves with its drone delivery system that, when active, will be able to deliver the order you’ve just placed on its website in just half an hour. That’s as close as we can get to the whole teleportation business right now, except it hasn’t been approved by authorities and it might take some time until it does. After all, having dozens of autonomous drones flying above populated areas is basically asking for trouble.

Google is working on a similar project but, just to be on the safe side, it’s also preparing a slightly more conservative solution. Instead of relying on UAVs, it will work with what it’s already got - or hopes to have shortly: autonomous cars. If Google gets its way, your future online orders might arrive inside a truck with multiple storage compartments.

The procedure goes like this: you see something you like on the Internet, you decide you can’t live without it so you instantly splash an outrageous amount of money to have it. Somewhere in a warehouse, your precious cargo is loaded onto a delivery truck with several storage lockers (even though they are all the same size in the drawing, we think they could vary to make way for larger objects as well).

Once the truck has been loaded, it starts its route all by itself, going from one customer to another. When it reaches one of its destinations, the addressee is notified, and the truck will wait there for a certain amount of time, depending on the package value, weather conditions or the client’s history.

Quartz reports that getting the package is as simple as inserting a code on the right keypad, but Google says it could also be activated by swiping your credit card (don’t they have contactless?), thus making the payment as well. After the delivery is complete, the truck will move to the next address or return to the depot for either another run or, if its shift is done, some R&R.

The best thing about Google’s idea is that it will be ready to implement the second autonomous cars become a reality. And given NHTSA’s recent decision to acknowledge the self-driving technology as an actual driver, that moment may not be that far away. Still, for anyone who’s played the Modern Warfare series, getting an airdrop will always be cooler than running after an unmanned truck that decided it had enough of your lack of punctuality.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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