Venturebeat reported recently that Udelv, a startup self-driving vehicle company, is teaming with two other companies to provide food to and from local supermarkets. The other investors are Esperanza Real Estate Investments and Narnia Road. The partnerships plan to have operate 10 of these autonomous vans by the end of 2019. The first van will be ready in the first quarter of 2019.
The vans will be used to transport food from several grocery stores to customers in “underserved markets.” Udelv CEO, Daniel Laury, claims that the new fleet is one way these autonomous vehicles can serve the public. There are plans to expand the fleet so it can service pharmacies and other merchants.
The current fleet will service Smart Saver, Buy For Less, Buy for Less Supermercado, and Uptown Grocery.
At the start, Udelv plans to have human drivers behind the wheels. The report claims the vehicles will have “Level 4” autonomous driving capabilities. As of September 2018, autonomous vans have made about 700 shipments in the San Francisco area.
The autonomous vans should be able to travel up to 60 miles per hour. Their maximum speed is 25 miles per hour. The electronic trucks can make about 40 deliveries before they need another charge. About 700 pounds of cargo can be loaded into the trucks. Customers will use a smartphone to make orders from the member grocery stores.
Udelv’s venture is not new. Another startup, Nuro, teamed with supermarket chain Kroger, which charges less than $6 for deliveries in Scottsdale, Arizona. Postmates and Ford are partnering to make deliveries in Miami, Florida. One company, Dispatch, based in San Francisco is even working to use delivery robots that can walk on sidewalks.
The dangers of self-driving vehicles
One major difficulty for Udelv is that Oklahoma has yet to enact any laws governing self-driving vehicles. Laury says that his company will be working with local authorities and others to “master miles of roads in the Oklahoma City area” so that deliveries can be safe and convenient.
While inventors and investors tout the benefits of self-driving vehicles, there are still many dangers. Many states and counties haven’t approved autonomous vehicles because computer technology has many flaws. Just one failure to recognize another vehicle or to be able to respond when an emergency occurs can lead to deaths and serious injuries. There may be times, when the Udelv trucks, need to go more than 25 miles per hour to avoid an accident.
When accidents happen in autonomous vehicles, the owners and makers of the vehicles can be held liable based on the following legal theories:
- Breach of Warranty
- Product liability
Our Oklahoma City car accident lawyers can help navigate these tricky waters. At Cunningham & Mears, we fight to hold responsible parties accountable for the injuries and deaths they cause. We hire investigators, conduct extensive discovery, and work with engineers, software experts, and other safety professionals when necessary. To arrange a free consultation, call our law office today at 405.212.9234 or fill out our contact form.
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Ryan Y. Cunningham is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Cunningham devotes his practice to protecting the rights of injured Oklahoma residents. In addition to assisting injured clients, Mr. Cunningham endeavors to improve personal injury representation by speaking on issues related to personal injury law to attorneys in continuing legal education courses and to law students. Learn More