Alphabet Inc has at least one company for every letter of the Alphabet. The firm is big, it has deep pockets, it is jostling with Apple for the title of world’s most-valuable company, and it can afford to delve into new business interests without bothering about whose ox is gored. On Monday, Alphabet sent blows to the likes of Apple Inc. , Tesla Motors Inc , and Facebook Inc .
Now, Alphabet is preparing to send fresh blows to Tesla and Amazon as the firm teases about self-driving trucks that can handle deliveries. Alphabet is already in the autonomous driving race with Tesla Motors, and it has a fleet of self-driving cars that are being tested in 3 U.S. cities. Alphabet’s Google also has a delivery service that is being tested in two U.S. cities. Now, Alphabet might be working towards combining the two businesses as revealed by new patents.
Alphabet wants to build driverless trucks
Quartz reports that Alphabet has been granted new patent that suggests that the firm is thinking about building self-driving delivery trucks. The patent describes an “autonomous” delivery platform with trucks. The self-driving trucks will probably be outfitted with Google’s self-driving car technology to rival Tesla’s move towards self-driving cars with autopilot features. Alphabet’s interest in self-driving trucks suggests that the firm can match up with Tesla on any moves that the EV maker makes on autonomous driving technology.
Last month, Tesla Motor’s CEO, Elon Musk has revealed that he might be interested in building EV trucks. In his words, “I think it is quite likely we will do a truck in the future… I think it’s sort of a logical thing for us to do in the future.” Of course, Tesla Motors and Alphabet are probably thinking about different kinds of trucks – Tesla is most likely thinking about a pick-up truck while Alphabet might be thinking of something like a “moving-van” kind of truck.
However, it appears that both Alphabet and Tesla would be playing catch up to Daimler Ag (maker of Mercedes Benz) because the firm has obtained the license to test out an 18-wheel driverless truck way back in May 2015. Tesla and Alphabet have concentrated on self-driving cars for retail consumers but Daimler is ahead of the curve on commercial self-driving applications and self-driving trucks might be the next big thing.
Alphabet to take over the delivery space from Amazon
Alphabet and Amazon.com Inc have been in a long-running battle over the future of retail and deliveries. Alphabet’s Google Express delivery service is a direct rival to AmazonFresh as both services seek to deliver fresh food in the U.S. Alphabet’s Project Wing, which seeks to deliver packages with drones, is also a direct rival to the proposed Amazon Prime Air that seeks to use Octopecter drones to deliver packages.
Now, Alphabet wants to deliver packages in Amazon Locker style in order reduce Amazon’s clout in the retail delivery space. The truck-based delivery system that Alphabet patented will be fitted a number of lockers that you can unlock with a PIN code, credit card, or NFC reader when the truck gets to your location. The truck gets to your location, parks itself, you locate your locker number, input the code, retrieve your package, and the truck heads away to the next delivery point.