Parcel logistics firm OnTrac has partnered with last-mile tech startup BoxBot to test the application of autonomous vehicles and mobile parcel lockers for last-mile delivery.
Founded by former Tesla and Uber engineers, BoxBot’s fleet includes two types of vehicles: parcel delivery vans with external lockers; and self-driving electric cars that can manage more complex deliveries, such as those requiring signatures. The vehicles can be reloaded with packages throughout the day at one of BoxBot’s automated local hubs.
To use the service, recipients schedule their delivery at a time of their choosing (including evenings). When the autonomous vehicle arrives, customers receive a text message alert with a unique code that they can use to retrieve their packages from the parcel lockers.
“OnTrac understands that the future of our logistics business relies on the well-being of our planet and the sustainability of our local communities,” said Rob Humphrey, OnTrac president. “Working with BoxBot gives us an efficient and reliable partner who shares our focus on not only resource conservation, but also providing a great service experience for our customers with every package, every day.”
BoxBot will work with OnTrac to test its technology, identify new ways in which autonomy can improve the delivery experience, and tightly integrate within the existing OnTrac delivery infrastructure.
BoxBot will operate as a regional service provider for OnTrac in select ZIP codes in Northern California, handling last-mile deliveries through BoxBot’s fleet of delivery vans and drivers. In compliance with California regulations, BoxBot’s autonomous vehicles operate under the supervision of a safety driver during testing.
“BoxBot is a new type of last-mile delivery company, powered by automation,” said Austin Oehlerking, BoxBot’s co-founder and CEO. “We’re excited to join OnTrac in giving people more control over when and how their packages are delivered and helping take the pain out of e-commerce. That means happier customers, lower costs and less theft.”