Amazon has created a team to work on self-driving vehicle technology. The team, with about a dozen employees, was formed over a year ago to explore the possibilities of leveraging autonomous vehicles for delivery of goods.
While the company does not intend to build a huge fleet, having its own autonomous vehicles would help it overcome the logistic complications and costs involved in delivering packages quickly. Amazon could use autonomous vehicles including trucks, forklifts and drones to move goods, people familiar with the plan told the Wall Street Journal.
Experts believe driverless cars could also play a major role in last-mile delivery, enabling easier package drop-offs.
Last week, Amazon held the Radical Transportation Salon event to discuss the future of transportation with other companies. Headed by HB Siegel, the event targeted people with expertise in autonomous vehicles.
"Amazon has a plan in place to shake up the entire supply chain as we know it today," Dave Sullivan, an automotive analyst for consultancy AutoPacific told the publication.
Amazon has long evinced interest in driverless vehicles. In January, it won a patent for coordinating autonomous vehicles in a roadway. The company is also looking for a research scientist, "to develop future mobility and transportation systems" at Amazon Robotics, suggests a job posting.
Amazon hopes to transport goods for other companies, providing stiff competition to delivery companies such as United Parcel Service and FedEx, the publication's sources said.
The company is also interested in autonomous trucking and is expected to continue its work on the drone delivery system, they added. Drones could pair up with driverless vehicles to coordinate deliveries.