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Californian startup unveils its autonomous last-mile delivery vehicle

A Californian startup has unveiled its autonomous last-mile delivery vehicle which has been tipped to transform and completely revolutionize the delivery services industry.

Udelv is an innovative start-up firm and is the world's first self-driving delivery vehicle and has been specifically built for last-mile delivery. The autonomous vehicle is expected to significantly reduce the cost of local deliveries across the United States.

The design of the self-driving delivery vehicle is rather unusual and features 18 secure storage compartments with automatic doors. When the delivery vehicle arrives at a customer's property or workplace, they can unlock their storage compartment via an app on their smartphone which subsequently enables them to remove their packages.

Once the respective package has been successfully unloaded - the van will then continue on its routes delivery products and services ordered via the smartphone app. A representative for Udelv has claimed the autonomous delivery vehicle has an electric powertrain that enables it to travel up to 60 miles (96km) on a single charge. That isn't a huge distance, but what must be taken into consideration is that the van can hold up to 700 pounds (316kg) of cargo.

The company made its first public deliveries to two customers in the San Mateo area of California to coincide with the launch of the self-driving delivery vehicle. A spokesman for Udelv has stated that the truck travelled in a 2.5 mile loop and performed flawlessly during the demonstration.

The start-up has said it will conduct a number of tests in the forthcoming months and added that it plans to deploy dozens of test vehicles within a relatively short timeframe. In California, the tests will be supervised by a safety driver but Udelv has plans for a teleoperations system which will allow owners to control the vehicle remotely. In addition to this, Udelv announced it plans to offer the van as a part of a subscription service and the company is accepting reservations for as little as $2,000.