Postman Pat will be very excited.
The United Kingdom’s postal service, Royal Mail, has revealed its new all-electric autonomous-capable van that begins deliveries this week.
Sourced from UK-based light commercial automaker, Arrival – formerly Charge Automotive – the vans have an all-electric range of 100 miles (160km) while producing zero emissions.
A nine-strong fleet of the electric vans will be provided to Royal Mail as part of the trial, and three different sizes will be used – 3.5-tonne (pictured), 6.0-tonne and 7.0-tonne – with the initial rollout limited to London and surrounding areas.
The vehicles will be produced at Arrival’s new factory in Banbury, UK, which the company claims will be capable of manufacturing 50,000 units per annum, using only artificial intelligence (AI) and robots.
Speaking of AI and robots, all of Arrival’s vans come equipped with the necessary hardware for autonomous driving “whenever legislation allows”, largely thanks to the fact that the company is run by the CEO of the driverless Formula E offshoot, Roborace, Denis Sverdlov.
The delivery vans to be used in Royal Mail’s trial, however, will be driven by people – for the time being.
“Royal Mail is delighted to be collaborating with Arrival and pioneering the adoption of large electric commercial vehicles. We will be putting them through their paces over the next several months to see how they cope with the mail collection demands from our larger sites,” said Paul Gatti, managing director for the Royal Mail Fleet.
“We have trialled electric trucks before but not of this type of innovative design and look forward to see what additional benefits they can bring to our existing fleet of around 49,000 vehicles.”
All of Arrival’s vans are manufactured using in-house developed components and electronics, while the modular design of the platform allows one person to build a full vehicle in just four hours or change any part in 15 minutes.
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