Friday in 5 – interesting news bits from around the supply chain horn, served up in one spot to keep you up to date.
This week: The fight is on between Google and Uber, China’s biggest retailer is developing a drone aircraft capable of carrying on ton or more for long-distance deliveries, e-commerce delivery and rideshare vehicles are intensifying San Francisco traffic, Amazon’s new bookstore opens this week, bringing the number of brick-and-mortar bookstore locations to seven, and self-driving trucks could be running the highways someday.
Who Will Win the Self Driving Car Fight between Google and Uber?
Even the biggest, most powerful companies in the world are at the mercy of a grade-school concept: supply and demand. That’s how a person like Anthony Levandowski can get paid $120 million by Google, leave to start his own company, watch that company get acquired by Uber just months later, and then find himself barred from working on self-driving car technology by a U.S. court. That goes to show just how important Levandowski—and other engineers like him—truly are to the arms race around self-driving cars. So, who will win the self driving car fight between Google and Uber?
Chinese Online Retailer Developing One-Ton Delivery Drones
China’s biggest online retailer, JD.com Inc., announced plans Monday to develop drone aircraft capable of carrying a ton or more for long-distance deliveries. The company said it will test the drones on a network it is developing to cover the northern Chinese province of Shaanxi. It said they will carry consumer goods to remote areas and farm produce to cities.
E-Commerce Delivery, Rideshare Vehicles Intensify San Francisco Traffic
It’s the day-to-day problem you can no longer escape. “Traffic is moving about 30 percent slower than it was,” says Tom Maguire, Director of Sustainable Streets for the San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Agency. But just what, exactly, has brought city streets to a crawl? “There’s not just one factor driving traffic congestion in the city,” Maguire said. To help us count the ways, we spent the day with Oscar Palma, who’s spent nearly 18 years as a tow-truck driver on the streets of San Francisco.
Amazon.com Inc.’s first New York City bookstore officially opens for business on Thursday, bringing the number of bricks-and-mortar bookstore locations to seven. The store occupies 4,000 square feet in The Shops at Columbus Circle, a mall that once had a Borders bookstore, where an H&M is now housed. Other occupants include Whole Foods Market Inc., Coach Inc., Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., and high-end restaurants Per Se and Masa. Amazon Books will have about 20 associates and stock 3,000 books, all presented with their covers forward and accompanied by a placard featuring a customer review and a bar code that can be scanned using the Amazon app for pricing and additional information.
From Road Cowboys to Robots: Truckers are Wary of Autonomous Rigs
Autonomous trucks have already appeared on the road in limited numbers, largely as demonstrations. But analysts foresee the technology getting to the point that large caravans of self-driving trucks could be running the highways someday. Truckers would work more like airline pilots, maneuvering big rigs onto the highway and then flipping on the autopilot for most of the trip, taking over again only when they have to get off the main route.