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Could Autonomous Vehicles Save the USPS?

The United State Postal Service has posted consistent financial losses for years. Could autonomous vehicles be the answer?

by / July 10, 2013

With 16 states having now penned legislation for driverless vehicles, people are beginning to think of ways the technology can save government dollars -- and one opinion is that the technology could be used by the United States Postal Service (USPS), in combination with robotics, to replace mail carriers.

Though the technology may seem like fantasy today, Co-Founder of Google Sergey Brin recently predicted fully autonomous vehicles will be available for purchase within five years.

In addition to saving money, a commentary from pointed out that using autonomous vehicles would also allow for 24-hour mail and package delivery.

And further savings could be realized by the reduced cost that some purport driverless vehicles to have. A 2012 report by Google, for instance, showed that in 300,000 miles of travel in a driverless vehicle, there were no collisions, as well as a reduced amount of wear and tear on the vehicle thanks to the computer’s cautious driving.

Autonomous vehicles can also save on fuel costs by driving at optimal speeds, with a Columbia University study identifying that energy savings of 273 percent could be achieved. With the USPS posting a $1.9 billion quarterly loss in May, such a change just might do the agency some good.

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