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New deal brings autonomous delivery closer to reality

A pioneer in computer vision for vehicles is part of a project to bring self-driving ‘Transporters’ to market

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The Mobileye Drive self-driving system will navigate the next-generation of Udlev autonomous delivery vehicles, called Transporters. The companies plan to produce more than 35,000 Mobileye-driven Transporters by 2028, with commercial operations beginning in 2023. Today’s news is believed to be the first large-scale deal for a self-driving system and signals that Mobileye Drive is ready for commercial deployment in solutions involving the autonomous movement of goods and people.

“Our deal with Udelv is significant for its size, scope and rapid deployment timeline, demonstrating our ability to deliver Mobileye Drive for commercial use now and in volume,” says Amnon Shashua, Mobileye president and CEO. “Covid-19 has accelerated demand for autonomous goods delivery, and we are delighted to partner with Udelv to address this demand in the near term.”

Daniel Laury, CEO and co-founder of Udelv, says: “Mobileye is the only company providing a full-stack self-driving system with commercial viability and scale today. The readiness of Mobileye Drive, along with its vast map coverage of North America, Europe and Asia, will allow us to ramp up the production and deployment of Udelv Transporters and rapidly offer the service at scale to our expanding list of customers.”

According to Mobileye, last-mile delivery is the most expensive aspect of distribution, accounting for 53% of the overall cost of goods. At the same time, consumers are buying more goods online, which is expected to raise urban last-mile delivery volume by 75 to 80% by 2030 and require 36% more delivery vehicles. A shortage of drivers is making it difficult for companies to keep pace. It is a service model that is ripe for improvement.

Udelv’s customers expect Transporters to dramatically improve the efficiency of last- and middle-mile delivery services for items like baked goods and auto parts to groceries and medical supplies.

Donlen, one of America’s largest commercial fleet management companies at the forefront of fleet management innovation and technology, has placed the first pre-order for 1,000 Transporters. This pre-order is believed to be the largest to date for an autonomous delivery vehicle.

“We are thrilled to be the first customer for the Udelv Transporter,” says Tom Callahan, president of Donlen. “The combination of Udelv’s zero-emissions Transporter and automated delivery management system with Mobileye Drive will enable sweeping delivery cost reductions, make our roads safer, and lower carbon emissions across America.”

Mobileye Drive comprises EyeQ system-on-chip-based level 4 (L4) compute, sensors and software, the company’s proprietary Road Experience Management AV mapping solution and Responsibility-Sensitive Safety-based autonomous driving policy.

The Transporters will be capable of L4 self-driving, point-to-point operation. Udelv’s proprietary tele-operations system will allow for the manoeuvring of the vehicles at the edges of the mission, in parking lots, loading zones, apartment complexes, and private roads.

As one of Udelv’s early customers, Mike Odell, president and CEO of XL Parts and Marubeni Automotive Aftermarket Holdings, said: “We placed our trust in Udelv’s technology two years ago and are thrilled to witness the progress this company has made in such a short period of time. XL Parts remains committed to expanding its partnership with Udelv and to being one of the first clients for the Transporters.”

The deal with Udelv advances Mobileye’s global mobility-as-a-service ambitions, validating the company’s technology and business approach. Mobileye plans to deploy autonomous shuttles with Transdev ATS and Lohr Group beginning in Europe. Mobileye also plans to begin operating an autonomous ride-hailing service in Israel in early 2022.

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