Boxbot unveils new last-mile delivery system featuring self-driving vehicles

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A last-mile logistics and automation startup called Boxbot is reimagining the way e-commerce packages and other shipments are delivered to consumers with its new last-mile delivery system featuring self-driving vehicles.

With the continuous growth of the e-commerce market, Boxbot says that its last-mile system helps delivery companies, retailers and other shippers better manage that growth, and reduce costs, by acting as a local extension of their delivery networks.

Founded by veteran engineers from Tesla and Uber, Boxbot utilizes automation to drastically reduce the costs of package delivery, and eliminate issues commonly associated with online shopping, such as missed deliveries, damaged shipments, stolen packages and the process of having to make returns.

Boxbot’s system combines automated local hubs with a fleet of street-based delivery vehicles. The automated local hubs store and sort parcels before automatically loading them for delivery. These hubs are situated 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 parcel delivery vans, as well as self-driving electric vehicles that are capable of managing more difficult and expensive deliveries, such as those that require signatures. The vehicles can be loaded with packages throughout the day at Boxbot’s automated local hubs, and the company notes that automating this process prevents its drivers from having to worry about loading, organizing or finding packages within their vehicles, which allows them to be more productive.

“Automation is transforming virtually every aspect of the way packages are shipped and delivered to the end customer,” says 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.”

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

Along with the unveiling of its last-mile delivery system, Boxbot also announced a partnership with parcel logistics company OnTrac to test self-driving parcel delivery in California. Specializing in logistics services throughout the Western United States, OnTrac’s service area is home to more than 65 million consumers.