While Google is arguably the leader in advancing self-driving cars for your everyday transportation needs, it looks like another big name is looking at autonomous vehicles for an entirely different purpose.
Retail giant Amazon has created its own firm focused on the potential of utilizing driverless technology to improve its service, according to insider sources of The Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab).
Though Amazon is no stranger to making its own products, as seen with its tablets and set-top boxes, it appears the company's interest in self-driving tech is more about logistics than commercial sales.
Rather than develop its own self-driving vehicle to sell, it look like Amazon's autonomous driving research team — which was reportedly created over a year ago and consists of about a dozen members — may be researching how to use the tech to lower shipping costs.
Primed for delivery
Similar to the company's initiative of using drones to deliver packages, Amazon may be researching the benefits of its own self-driving cars to cut the costs of relying on third-party mailing services (and, ya know, human beings) to transport packages.
Gradually increasing shipping rates has caused some headaches for Amazon, with the online merchant having to raise the cap for free shipping for non-Amazon Prime subscribers early last year before dropping it back to normal in response to growing competition and negative feedback.
Should Amazon decide to put a driverless pedal to the metal to deliver orders, it may have its share of options to choose from. In addition to the Google-backed Alphabet division Waymo, it looks like electronics bigwig Apple may actually be working on an autonomous car after all.
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