California-based Udelv pulled the wraps off its autonomous, last-mile delivery vehicle this week and made the world’s first public road test deliveries from Draeger’s Market in San Mateo to two nearby customers.
Udelv reports that the 2.5-mile loop with traffic lights, lane changes, unsignalized left turns and two delivery stops, was accomplished flawlessly. In compliance with existing California regulations, the vehicle was supervised by a safety driver and in test mode.
The distinctive orange customized vehicle is built on a fully electric powertrain and features 18 secure cargo compartments with automatic doors using a cloud-based proprietary technology that is shared between the vehicle, customers and merchants. In its current configuration, the vehicle can drive for up to 60 miles per cycle and can load up to 700 pounds of cargo.
A dedicated application is available on iOS to track and potentially reschedule deliveries, with an Android version to be released soon.
To complement its autonomous driving technology and ensure reliability of the service, Udelv also created an ultra-low latency teleoperations system to monitor and control the vehicles remotely and allow for overrides and human-assisted guidance in unique situations.
Udelv anticipates that its new vehicle will bring forth a dramatic drop in the cost of local deliveries, add delivery window flexibility and significantly reduce carbon footprint.
“Deliveries are the perfect first application for autonomous vehicles,” said Daniel Laury, CEO of udelv. “Customers simply open the locker with a press of a button on their mobile device and the vehicle heads on its way to the next delivery or back to the store.
“This is a historic revolution in transportation. We are reinventing deliveries. McKinsey estimates that 80 percent of all package deliveries will be autonomous in the next decade,” Laury continued. “I am very proud that Udelv is first and leads this revolution.”
Draeger’s Market owner Richard Draeger said the self-driving EV will be good for business.
“Our customers are very tech-savvy,” Draeger said. “We look forward to adding the udelv autonomous vehicle and its cost reduction factor to our delivery fleet.”
The company, with several technology patents pending, is planning to test dozens of Udelv vehicles on the roads in a few states within a short timeframe.
Udelv is planning to use a subscription business model to roll out its vehicle fleet.
Led by Laury and CTO Akshat Patel, former Tesla and Apple special projects engineer manager, Udelv is listed on the California DMV Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program under the name of CarOne LLC. The company is funded by a group of investors that includes prominent U.S. and international venture capital funds as well as private investors.