Startups that rely on contract drivers to provide deliveries must grapple with less-than-stable relationships with individual drivers. Relatively few stay at one company for more than a few months, one driver says.
Ford employees in Valencia, Spain, are using a wearable device that links to a smartphone app to reduce unnecessary in-house travel time. The technology, which provides employees with quality inspection requirements for the products they assemble, helped reduce human error by 7%, the company said. The app also allows employees to start and stop the production line from their wrist-mounted devices.
US shipper spending dropped to a two-year low last month because of high inventory levels. Shipping expenditures fell 1.4% from 2014 and volume fell 0.2%, according to Cass Information Systems. Trucking companies are taking a hit, but some large companies expect a rebound as falling gas prices spur more retail sales.
Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications will provide an extra layer of passenger safety in autonomous vehicles, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Mark Rosekind. He suggests that self-driving cars could better avoid accidents by communicating with their surroundings.
Google filed a patent earlier this week that outlines plans for an autonomous self-driving vehicle to carry packages to users' homes, where they would enter a code in a vehicle compartment to claim their packages. Google previously has tested drones for delivery service.
Fulfillment by Amazon -- the service allowing sellers to hire Amazon for storage, picking, packing and shipping -- is gaining popularity thanks to Amazon Prime. ChannelAdvisor, for example, used Fulfillment for 37.8% of its orders on the site last month. "Our data indicates that more retailers are adopting Fulfillment by Amazon for shipping and handling to stay in front of the Prime consumer," said Scot Wingo, executive chairman of ChannelAdvisor. "If you're not using FBA, you're likely losing share."
Federal budget numbers released Tuesday offer more details on a transportation plan announced last week by President Barack Obama, including a $30 billion spending increase. The budget includes an additional $8 billion for transit maintenance and expansion, $7.5 billion to help reduce emissions on highways, $6 billion for intercity rail and $1 billion for a new multimodal freight program.
Self-parking capabilities announced last month are a major stride in the move toward fully autonomous vehicles, says Tesla, noting that the new Summon feature reduces the risk of accidents and makes parking more convenient. CEO Elon Musk predicts his company will produce fully autonomous vehicles in the next two years.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is thinking about updating the definition of a driver in its standards to recognize self-driving vehicle computer systems as drivers, according to a reply the agency wrote to a Google proposal. "If no human occupant of the vehicle can actually drive the vehicle, it is more reasonable to identify the driver as whatever (as opposed to whoever) is doing the driving," wrote NHTSA's Paul Hemmersbaugh.
Gannett is considering adding a parcel-delivery service to make better use of its fleet of newspaper carriers and trucks -- even discussing options with Amazon as a way to enter the e-commerce industry. However, the move could mean the loss of millions of dollars in tax breaks, plus logistical challenges. "It's not a trivial thing to add that to newspaper delivery, from a standpoint of infrastructure development, sortation and making that all work," said Denny McKnight, president of Tompkins International.
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