Boxbot Unveils a New System for Self-Driving Parcel Delivery

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We’re using automation and autonomous technology to reimagine how packages are delivered in the last-mile.

A new self-driving electric vehicle developed by Boxbot, an Oakland startup founded by veterans of Uber and Tesla. Boxbot's vehicle will be used for parcel delivery starting this year in California.

“Boxbot is a new type of delivery company, focused completely on last-mile delivery,” said Austin Oehlerking, Boxbot’s co-founder and CEO.

Boxbot, a last-mile logistics and automation startup, today unveiled a new last-mile delivery system that reimagines the way e-commerce packages and other shipments are delivered to consumers.

Every year, delivery companies manage billions of additional consumer deliveries due to the exponential growth of e-commerce. McKinsey & Co. has estimated that last-mile delivery costs amount to more than $86 billion a year. Boxbot’s last-mile system helps delivery companies, retailers and other shippers better manage that growth —and reduce its costs— by acting as a local extension of their delivery networks.

Boxbot —founded by veteran engineers from Tesla and Uber— leverages automation to significantly reduce the costs of package delivery and eliminate online shopping’s morning-after headaches: missed deliveries, damaged shipments, stolen packages and painful returns.

Boxbot’s first-of-its-kind system combines an automated local hub with a fleet of street-based delivery vehicles. Boxbot’s automated local hubs store and sort parcels before automatically loading them for delivery. Boxbot situates these hubs close to residential neighborhoods, making it more cost-effective for retailers to offer fast, low-cost shipping for next-day and same-day delivery.

Boxbot’s fleet includes two types of vehicles: parcel delivery vans and self-driving electric vehicles that can manage more complex and expensive deliveries, like those requiring signatures. Boxbot’s vehicles can be loaded with packages throughout the day at its automated local hubs. Automating this process enables Boxbot’s drivers to get more done in less time, without worrying about loading, organizing or finding packages within their vehicles. (Images of Boxbot’s vehicles are available here.)

“Boxbot is a new type of delivery company, focused completely on last-mile delivery,” said Austin Oehlerking, Boxbot’s co-founder and CEO. “By leveraging advanced technology, we can deliver a higher number of packages in less time and at a substantially lower cost per package. We’re excited to unlock this potential with Boxbot.”

“Automation is transforming virtually every aspect of the way packages are shipped and delivered to the end customer,” said Mark Godwin, Boxbot’s co-founder and CTO. “But the final step, when packages move from the hub to consumers’ doorsteps, is still an entirely manual process. With Boxbot, automation is coming —finally— to the last mile.”

Boxbot puts recipients in control of when and how their packages are delivered. People in areas Boxbot serves can schedule their delivery at a time of their choosing (including evenings). This makes deliveries more convenient for e-commerce customers by giving them new options for planning their days and keeping their purchases safe. And it also makes returning packages just as easy as it is to order them.

Boxbot’s system is built around the same hub-and-spoke model used in shipping and delivery networks worldwide. Under this model, packages are routed to central distribution hubs before being distributed to outlying areas that connect to those hubs like the spokes of a bicycle wheel. Boxbot is applying that concept at a local level, placing its automated local hubs in locations closer to residents in the areas it serves. This makes it more cost-effective for retailers to offer fast, low-cost shipping for next-day and same-day delivery.

Boxbot offers last-mile delivery as a value-added service to help partners cost-effectively manage those consumer deliveries. This morning, the company announced a partnership with parcel logistics company OnTrac to test self-driving parcel delivery in California. OnTrac specializes in logistics services throughout the Western United States, with a service area that is home to over 65 million consumers.

About Boxbot:
Boxbot (http://boxbot.io) is an Oakland, California-based company with extensive expertise in robotics, industrial automation, logistics, and self-driving technology—the fields essential to automated parcel delivery. Founded in late 2016, Boxbot has the unique talent to build a new approach to package delivery, drawing on years of experience in the mobility and self-driving worlds (for companies including Uber, Tesla and Cruise) and the logistics and delivery space (including for Amazon, DHL, UPS, Lasership and Doorman).

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Matt Graves
Tripleshot Communications
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