Quadrobot, a Detroit company, is developing an autonomous mail delivery vehicle and it ready to begin testing on roadways. The company recently stated they will begin to test their Quadorbot U1 vehicle in China and in Michigan later in this year.
The tiny vehicle boasts an all-wheel-drive system, four-wheel steering, and sits on a skateboard-like modular platform. It's also electric with 47 horsepower on tap to handle last-mile delivery services.
"Last-mile deliveries" refer to deliveries made locally in neighborhoods or in downtown areas—not cross-country haulers to bring packages to various areas. The concept has become a breeding ground for self-driving car startup companies since deliveries are short and don't require highway travel.
The first U1 tests will feature a human inside to drive the vehicle, but the autonomous system will kick in to steer and brake if it detects the driver has made an incorrect input, such as a wrong turn. Humans will also deliver the packages onboard the robotic car, and while they carry out their job, the U1 will be able to follow them down the street "like a pet," Quadrobot CEO and chairman Mike Wang told the newspaper. The company is also working with a supplier to develop a fast-charging system that could fully charge the car's battery in 40 minutes. The range would be enough for a 12-hour-long delivery shift, the company said.
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