DHL to launch self-driving delivery fleet

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Automotive manufacturer ZF – a specialist in driveline and chassis technology – is partnering with visual technology developer Nvidia and delivery and logistics provider Deutsche Post DHL Group to develop and trial a fleet of autonomous delivery trucks.

Starting in 2018, DHL will equip several of its StreetScooter electric delivery vehicles with the ZF ProAI self-driving system, based on Nvidia Drive PX technology, which gathers information from multiple sensors including cameras, lidar and radar, and then uses artificial intelligence (AI) to understand the environment, drive along a safe route, and eventually park itself.

DHL and its partners have already unveiled a prototype autonomous delivery vehicle at the GPU Technology Conference in Munich, Germany, which uses six cameras, one radar and two lidar – all feeding into the Nvidia Drive PX. DHL currently has a fleet of 3,400 StreetScooter electric delivery vehicles that can be equipped with ZF’s sensors and self-driving system.

Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of Nvidia, said, “The development of autonomous delivery vehicles demonstrates how AI and deep learning are also reshaping the commercial transportation industry. As online shopping continues to explode, and the shortage of truck drivers worsens, AI-enabled vehicles will be key to providing last-mile delivery services.”

Jürgen Gerdes, member of the board of management at Deutsche Post DHL, said, “Research and development of ecological, economical and efficient transportation will bring dramatic changes to the logistics industry. Partnering with Nvidia and ZF will enable us to responsibly support this development, benefit from it, and to reinforce our position as the industry’s innovation leader.”

Dr Stefan Sommer, CEO at ZF, said, “In its StreetScooter fleet, Deutsche Post DHL is taking its next step with our current and future generation of surround sensor technology and ZF ProAI artificial intelligence brain powered by Nvidia.

“ZF ProAI is the brain between our autonomous driving sensor, set to detect and understand the environment, and our motion control, based on outstanding mechanical competence – the entire system follows our ‘see – think – act’ approach.

“In supply logistics and on the last mile where autonomous driving has tremendous benefits, goods can be delivered independent of the time of the day and delivery staff, with minimal noise and emissions, thus significantly reducing traffic congestion in city centers.”

October 17, 2017

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Dan joined Postal and Parcel Technology International in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As assistant editor, he now produces daily content for the website and supports the editors with the publication of each exciting new issue. When he’s not reporting on the latest logistics news, Dan can be found apprehensively planning his next DIY project for his new home.

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