Mobileye, an Intel subsidiary dedicated to autonomous cars, has formed an alliance with the Californian start-up Udelv, which specializes in autonomous delivery. The two companies announced on March 12 the signing of a contract providing for the entry into service of a fleet of driverless delivery vehicles by 2023. Udelv called this model of van “Transporter”. They plan to produce 35,000 by 2028.
A rental system
Electric vans, without seats or driver’s cabs, will be offered for hire to companies having or wishing to develop an independent delivery activity. This service will not be limited to the United States.
The vehicles will feature the Mobileye Drive Level 4 autonomous driving system, the most advanced available in Mobileye. As a reminder, the Intel division is at the origin of two autonomous driving systems. The first is based solely on cameras, while the second also integrates radar, lidar and GPS. Proprietary technology detects lights and traffic signs in particular in order to manage intersections completely independently. It also relies on high-definition maps of public transport and road networks captured by Road Experience Management (REM) technology.
A speed of 100 km / h
Although Transporter is fully autonomous, it will have very low latency “tele-operation” capabilities, which means that an operator will be able to monitor and control it remotely. The vans will have a maximum speed of 100 kilometers per hour. On the other hand, Udelv does not specify the kilometer range before recharging, the size or the weight of its vehicle.
Donlen, an American commercial fleet leasing company, is the first customer to sign up, with a pre-order of 1,000 vans. “The combination of Udelv’s zero-emission transporter and Mobileye Drive’s automated system will significantly reduce delivery costs, make our roads safer and reduce carbon dioxide emissions across the United States. “, said Tom Callahan, CEO of Donlen.
The Covid-19, an autonomous delivery accelerator
This announcement comes in a context favorable to the acceleration of the deployment of the autonomous delivery of goods. Indeed, the Covid-19 pandemic has exploded the demand for home and contactless deliveries to avoid contamination. Panasonic, for example, announced last December the launch of an autonomous robot delivery service in the city of Fujisawa in Japan.
With this new contract, Mobileye is expanding its activities. In terms of passenger transport, the heart of its business, it announced at the end of February four new sites to test autonomous vehicles, in Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai and New York, in the course of 2021. The stated ambition by the company is to market a robot taxi by 2025.