This year, Deutsche Post DHL intends to begin tests of autonomous electric light trucks using the latest NVIDIA DRIVE PX and ZF ProAI self-driving system (which doesn't exactly roll off the tongue).

Nvidia Drive PX Pegasus (Image Credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia Drive PX Pegasus (Image Credit: Nvidia)

The German postal service is no stranger to being on the cutting edge, or plugging in .... as DPDHL already utilizes a fleet of 3,400 (and growing) StreetScooter electric delivery vehicles, produced in-house.

According to Deutsche Post, the StreetScooter can be equipped with ZF's multiple sensors, including cameras, lidar and radar, that feed into the ZF ProAI system. That way DPDHL is able to automate package transportation and delivery, including the "last mile" of deliveries, which is the complex and costliest aspect of courier and e-commerce deliveries.

"To develop these AI delivery vehicles, DPDHL has already configured its data center with the NVIDIA DGX-1™ AI supercomputer for training its neural networks. It will then run its deep learning models on the truck's NVIDIA DRIVE PX platform. A prototype delivery vehicle unveiled today uses six cameras, one radar and two lidar -- all feeding into the NVIDIA DRIVE PX."

Jensen Huang, NVIDIA founder and CEO said:

"The development of autonomous delivery vehicles demonstrates how AI and deep learning are also reshaping the commercial transportation industry. As online shopping continues to explode, and the shortage of truck drivers becomes more dire, AI-enabled vehicles will be key to providing last-mile delivery services."

Jürgen Gerdes, member of the Board of Management at Deutsche Post AG said:

"Research and development of ecological, economical and efficient transportation will bring dramatic changes to the logistics industry. Partnering with NVIDIA and ZF will enable us to responsibly support this development, benefit from it and reinforce our position as the industry´s innovation leader."

Stefan Sommer, CEO of ZF said:

"In its StreetScooter fleet, Deutsche Post DHL is taking its next step with our current and future generation of surround sensor technology and ZF ProAI artificial intelligence brain powered by NVIDIA. ZF ProAI is the brain between our autonomous driving sensor set to detect and understand the environment, and our motion control based on outstanding mechanical competence -- the entire system follows our 'see - think - act' approach. In supply logistics and on the last mile where autonomous driving has tremendous benefits, goods can be delivered independent of the time of the day and delivery staff, with minimal noise and emissions, thus significantly reducing traffic congestion in city centers."