Autonomous delivery vehicles are becoming increasingly popular and Udelv is using CES to introduce its all-new Newton.
Billed as the company’s second-generation autonomous delivery van, the Newton is based on the Ford Transit Connect and appears far more traditional than the company’s first-generation van.
While the company hasn’t released too many details about the van, Udelv confirmed the model has an adaptable cargo compartment with “dynamic shelving space.” This allows the van to hold goods of various sizes and weights. This level of customization facilitates easy loading and Udelv believes it will appeal to a “broad range of merchants from grocery stores, to auto parts distributors, pharmacies, general merchandise stores, shippers and carriers.”
The van will be able to hold up to 32 customer orders at a single time and each customer will only have access to their own order. Udelv has also developed a new smartphone app for the van and offers an advanced tele-operations system that allows operators to remotely monitor their fleet and take control of them when needed.
Each Netwen will come equipped with a Level 4 autonomous driving system that will enable theml to travel at speeds up to 60 mph (96 km/h). The vans will be able to travel up to 400 square miles (1,036 square kilometers) from their base of operations – such as a store or distribution center – and they can drive themselves on urban and suburban roads as well as freeways.
The Newton’s autonomous driving system uses “main modules” from Baidu’s Apollo open-source software platform. The new 3.5 version of the software provides compatibility with newer sensors such as Continental long-range radars, an Argus FSD-Link camera and Velodyne LiDARs. The software has also been designed handle more complex obstacles such as speed bumps, unprotected turns and clear zones – among other things.
Udelv’s first-generation van has already completed over 1,200 deliveries in the San Francisco Bay Area and the company has plans to expand into several states later this year. As part of this effort, the company has teamed up with Walmart to begin a trial of autonomous delivery vans in Surprise, Arizona. The trial will kick off next month and see Udelv vans deliver online grocery orders.