The uPod Transporter is an electric van that promises to transport and deliver packages without anyone behind the wheel by 2023

Autonomous, electric and very close to being ready to operate. This is the business card of the Udelv uPod Transporter an urban delivery van that lacks a cabin and, therefore, no driving position. It has been presented at CES 2022 in Las Vegas and its creators assure that the first units will be deployed in 2023.

The goal is that by 2028, up to 50,000 units of this uPod Transporter will be operating on public roads. It is still under development but, according to Udelv, it has already received 1,000 bookings.

It is a proposal similar to the Toyota e-Palette, although in the case of the Japanese it does have a driver’s seat.

Level 4 autonomous driving

Udelv uPod Transporter, autonomous delivery van

This zero-emission van is modular and promises to deliver up to 80 stops without a human driver. Not even to supervise the tour. For this, this Californian startup has teamed up with the technology giant Mobileye, which provides autonomous driving technology.

Thus, the Udelv uPod Transporter is equipped with LiDAR cameras, sensors and radars, which are managed by the latest generation EyeQ chip from this firm. It also incorporates the Mobileye Road Experience Management (REM), which is an advanced mapping technology that can recognize colors, track traffic patterns or identify road signs.

With these ingredients, it presumes in theory level 4 autonomous driving (SAE)As it does not require human intervention, it is able to circulate only thanks to sensors and mapping systems.

And it will also be able to “remote control”, that is, to drive remotely through a system developed by this North American firm and through an app, allowing it to maneuver in loading areas, parking lots or private roads. It operates with software connected to a cloud, in such a way that deliveries can be scheduled, but also for example manage returns.

As for the merchandise itself, it allows carry up to 907 kg of weight and deliver from essential items, to electronic or medical products, through auto parts or e-commerce packages.

With two battery options, one of 90 kWh and another more generous of 160 kWh, promises an autonomy between 257 y 482 km respectively, reaching up to those 80 promised stops.

Plus, plugged into a fast direct current (DC) outlet, they claim it takes just 45 minutes to add 354 km. Its maximum speed is 112 km / h, so it can also run on fast roads.

In the shadow of the Toyota e-Palette

Toyota e-Palette

The theory is fine on paper, but it remains to be seen if it is feasible for it to operate in a real environment. Not surprisingly, one of the units of the Toyota e-Palette, which premiered last summer in the Tokyo Paralympic Games, ran over a visually impaired athlete, who was injured after the impact.

And that of Toyota does have a driver, who in fact in that unit was supervising the making of the autonomous capsule. Following this incident, the 16 e-Palette units stopped providing transportation in the Olympic Village. “This shows that autonomous vehicles are not yet viable for the roads“, then commented Akio Toyoda, CEO of Toyota.

It seems therefore something early that only in a year, this uPod Transporter is delivering packages by itself in the cities, operating without any type of supervision or human support.

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Lenny Li

I started to play with tech since middle school. Smart phones, laptops and gadgets are all about my life. Besides, I am also a big fan of Star War. May the force be with you!

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