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Volkswagen launches pilot project for delivery vehicle optimisation

A trial in east London is evaluating a voice-controlled electronic assistant for its potential to optimise delivery vehicle efficiency.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Hermes are trialling the app as a method of supporting delivery drivers and enhancing its parcel delivery business.

The app, developed by German-based start-up Neohelden, aids onboarding, initial delivery runs and provides an overview of all parcels while connecting to existing IT systems.

The companies state that drivers can see and hear upcoming deliveries and organise deliveries through voice command – the system can also dictate delivery details such as names, addresses and special requirements.

Drivers are also able to ask for further details with the aim of streamlining deliveries and easing workload, especially during rush-hour or at times of high parcel volume.

Lynsey Aston, head of product, innovation and onboarding at Hermes UK, said: “Our network of over 27,000 couriers is working hard to deliver ever-increasing volumes driven by the natural growth of e-commerce.

“On top of that, the pandemic has seen our volumes soar to more than 630 million parcels over the last year and we’ve grown our teams and network of self- employed couriers, which has meant a lot of new starters to onboard, fast.

“Anything that helps us to do this quicker and supports our couriers in delivering more safely and efficiently is really important.”

The trial will be carried out by multiple drivers in the Greater London region throughout March.