Postal robots take to the streets with backing from Toyota AI Ventures

Boxbot’s unveiling makes one thing clear: The company is thinking more holistically about last-mile delivery than many of its competitors, and it’s also taking bigger bets. Boxbot’s fleet includes self-driving electric vehicles that look a bit like a lego creation. It’s a testament to just how quickly we’ve become attuned to autonomous driving that the self-driving vans are actually the least novel-seeming part of the unveiling.

The Boxbot logistics system also includes an automated local hub where packages are received, sorted, and prepped for delivery, along with a fleet of street-based driverless vehicles. Boxbot envisions the hubs situated close to residential neighborhoods. By shipping products to them in anticipation of orders, retailers can conceivably offer fast, low-cost shipping for a fraction of the price, cutting into Amazon’s massive lead.