Transportation is a key component to a well oiled supply chain process. Now more than ever, there is a need for organizations to produce and ship products faster to meet demands for the end user. For instance, Amazon recently offered its employees a $10,000 startup cost reimbursement plus three months of their gross salary to start their delivery businesses. The digital age has ushered in a new autonomous wave of transportation methods. However, there is still speculation surrounding the safety of self-driving vehicles. As a result, many companies are shifting their focus to include safer best practices in addition to innovative transportation technology.

Three transportation trends to keep a close eye on:

A New Day for the U.S. Postal Service

TuSimple, a robot trucking startup, just secured a contract with the United States Postal Service 1 to deliver to mail along specified highway routes. The two-week trial run will utilize autonomous technology on the highway. A safety engineer and a driver will serve as quality control watchers to ensure there are no issues with the deliveries. The trucks will be making 22 hour round trips during the trial period, traveling through Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

The Residential Roadblock to Commercialization

Although TuSimple may be on the fast track to delivering viable transportation solutions for organizations, the road to success is not so easy for autonomous ride services. Waymo is currently leading the pack in Phoenix with its self-driving service. Also, Uber and Lyft are currently working on fine-tuning the technology to offer self-driving vehicles for its customers. However, there could be a greater risk of danger in high traffic residential areas.

Perceptive Vehicle Marketing

Organizations can easily spend an astronomical amount of money on advertising on physical billboards, not to mention their ongoing digital efforts. Now, vehicle wraps may be taking a larger slice of the pie (at a cheaper cost). Box truck ad campaigns 2 (including your organization’s messaging on the vehicle) can run about $1500 per month for a multi-month ad campaign. The California based company, Boxi, is making significant headway as a more cost-effective out of home advertising method. Organizations win in two ways: saving thousands of dollars by not using traditional billboards and the perception that their company has in house fleet. The result is a viable avenue for increased brand power and awareness.

Transportation has to be top of mind to ensure an organization’s success. Although full adaption of autonomous transportation may not happen soon, proper preparation is critical. Today’s organizations must continue to implement innovative ideas, such as TuSimple’s partnership with the USPS, to stay ahead of the pack. The company that can crack the code to safely deliver more in a shorter window of time will ultimately be the victor.

1 U.S. Postal Service Delivers Mail Using TuSimple’s Self-Driving Trucks by Alan Ohnsman
2 Last Mile Delivery Meets Targeted Advertising on Boxi’s Freight-As-Billboard Trucks by Julie Walmsley