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Amazon is constantly thinking of new ways it can cut costs and revolutionize the shipping and delivery industry. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Amazon formed a team about a year ago of a dozen employees to focus on driverless-vehicle technology and develop the company’s plans to use self-driving cars to better its business.
Amazon doesn’t plan on building its own self-driving cars for now. Instead, this newly formed team is tasked with figuring out how the company can use autonomous vehicle technology to deliver packages more quickly. Not only could self-driving cars be used to deliver packages to customers during the final leg of the shipping process, but Amazon could use autonomous cars, trucks, forklifts, and drones to move goods in and around warehouses and elsewhere.
Waymo just began trials of its self-driving car service in Arizona, Apple just gained a permit to test self-driving cars on public roads, and automotive companies like Ford are investing a lot of time and money into getting driverless cars up and running. But while most of those companies seem to be competing to build the best driverless cars, Amazon is doing what Amazon does best: figuring out how it can use upcoming and existing technology to make its systems more efficient (and save money in the process).
Driverless-car technology is just one of many efforts Amazon has recently experimented with to optimize packing and shipping logistics. The company used drones to deliver packages in its Prime Air trial in the UK at the end of last year, and there have been rumors that Amazon wants to build its own delivery empire that would make its need for companies like UPS and FedEx obsolete. Amazon already has its own delivery workers that bring packages to their final destinations more quickly in certain areas, and driverless cars would be another way to expedite that process.