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Udelv autonomous vehicle provides services for nonprofit organizations

Udelv, a maker of autonomous delivery vehicles, has teamed up with Toyota Mobility Foundation and Energy Systems Network to provide services to two non-profit organizations in central Indiana under TMF’s Together in Motion initiative.

The delivery vehicle – which was launched in Indianapolis on November 5th, 2021 – and has enabled HATCH for Hunger and Southeast Community Services to provide essential goods to community members and food pantry partners.

The rising necessity of contactless delivery throughout the coronavirus pandemic led TMF to explore implementation of advanced goods delivery methodologies. The service will end at the beginning of May 2022.

Udelv has equipped a Toyota Sienna with their innovative Delivery Management System (DMS) – comprised of a smart cargo container (uPod) and a cloud-based communication architecture.

Customers are alerted through a notification from Udelv’s app that the vehicle is on the way to their home. Once the vehicle arrives at the customer’s location, customers simply open a specific compartment within the uPod via their mobile phone to retrieve their order themselves.

No assistance from the vehicle’s driver is necessary, ensuring the delivery is contactless, safe, and secure.

Peggy Frame, Southeast Community Service’s executive director, says: “The partnership between TMF and Southeast Community Services has been transformational for members of our community who are unable to visit our weekly food pantry.

“With the extra delivery capacity provided by the Toyota Sienna equipped with Udelv’s technology, we have been able to triple the number of weekly deliveries into the community. The peace of mind this food security gives our neighbors is immeasurable.”

Daniel Laury, Udelv CEO, says: “Udelv is very proud and grateful to the Toyota Mobility Foundation to be part of this essential community service.

“It is inspiring to see our contactless customer experience contribute to the improvement of people’s lives. Serving HATCH and Southeast Community Services through TMF is at the heart of what we believe as a company and where our core values lie.

“Our engineers have worked hard to develop an easy-to-use mobile app that simplifies deliveries, and this customer interaction is being widely accepted by users who walk to the vehicle to retrieve their goods.”

The vehicle delivers a weekly distribution of groceries and home goods from Southeast Community Services to nearby neighbors residing within southeast Indianapolis. Likewise, HATCH for Hunger distributes fresh protein in the form of eggs to food pantries in central Indiana.

The uPod-equipped Sienna has enabled HATCH to increase the number of eggs per month to local food banks – totaling up to an additional 6,000 meals per month. Through their participation in this deployment, both organizations are providing valuable insight and learnings for the future of contactless delivery services.

Daniel Leckie, executive director, HATCH For Hunger, says: “This partnership made real the opportunity for HATCH to increase access to better nutrition and protein sources for hunger relief organizations in our local community.

“Because of this partnership, HATCH will have delivered an additional 1,125 dozen eggs per month providing nearly 40,500 meals to food insecure children and adults in Indianapolis over the course of the 6-month program.”

Established in 2020, Together in Motion Indiana aims to foster innovation through industry partnerships and propel research and development in advanced mobility technologies, Together in Motion Indiana supports the deployments of various mobility solutions that are developed with local community input.

With this human-centered approach, the initiative aims to better serve the transportation needs of the local communities, to understand the changing ecosystems surrounding these needs, to potentially expand such initiatives into other communities, and to establish networks for the sharing and leveraging of key learnings. The initiative also includes an autonomous vehicle deployment in Fishers, Indiana.

Ryan Klem, director of programs at the Toyota Mobility Foundation, says: “While implementing advanced mobility technology is exciting, seeing that technology make measurable, positive impact on the community is even more meaningful.

“Southeast Community Services and HATCH for Hunger do so much for their neighbors and partners, and we thank them for testing and evaluating a new technology through Udelv so that we can learn how to best serve those around us.”

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