Is Amazon Creating Self-Driving Cars for Delivery?

Over the past two years, Amazon has been seeking to take over more shipping duties from the likes of UPS and FedEx by leasing trucks, planes, and ships, and now the e-commerce giant could be eyeing driverless car technology as a way to get items to people's doors faster.

It appears nearly every tech and auto giant are now evaluating autonomous vehicle technology.

Google-owner Alphabet recently spun out its self-driving car unit, Waymo, into its own subsidiary.

Apple was just granted a license in California to test autonomous vehicles.

Ford and General Motors are also doubling down on creating autonomous vehicles.

Now Amazon could be eyeing driverless car technology as a way to get items to people's doors faster, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal.

“ Inc. has created a team focused on driverless-vehicle technology to help navigate the retail giant’s role in the shake-up of transportation, according to people briefed on the matter.”

The initiative, still in its early phases, could help the Seattle-based company overcome one of its biggest logistical complications and costs: delivering packages quickly.

Amazon could use autonomous vehicles including trucks, forklifts and drones to move goods.

In addition, driverless cars could play a broader role in the future of last-mile delivery, enabling easier package drop-offs, experts say.

Amazon was awarded a patent for a network that manages a very specific aspect of the self-driving experience: How autonomous cars navigate reversible lanes.

According to Fortune magazine, Amazon's ambitions, however, may not be to actually build these cars.

Instead, the e-commerce giant has a team of around a dozen employees thinking of ways to potentially use the nascent technology to expand its own retail and logistics operations.

Read: Fighting Amazon’s Supply Chain Takeover

Operating fleets of driverless trucks to ship items bought from its marketplace could help lower costs for the company.

Amazon spends billions of dollars each quarter on shipping, and these costs continue to rise as the company aims to deliver everything from toiletries to TVs to customers around the world in two days or less.

During the past two years, Amazon has been looking to take over more shipping duties from the likes of UPS and FedEx by leasing trucks, planes, and ships.

The company has also started testing drones to deliver items from warehouses to buyers' doorsteps as part of its Prime Air initiative.

Earlier this year, Amazon was awarded a patent for the technology that would allow driverless cars to to navigate traffic and lanes on highways.

Related: FedEx Bets on Automation as it Prepares to Fend Off Uber and Amazon

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