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FedEx musings

2005-04-11 17:27:19.979997+00 by Dan Lyke 9 comments

So, FedEx and UPS already have some sort of wireless link to report delivery, I wonder what the economics of attaching a GPS to that would be so that you know where that truck that's got, say, your PowerBook on it is.

Bandwidth charges from people like me mashing "reload" would probably be a bitch.

[ related topics: Web development Wireless Economics ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-11 17:56:00.867181+00 by: Larry Burton

At some point the company would suffer from their customers having too much data. Imagine the number of people that would actually chase down the UPS truck that had their stuff on it.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-11 18:03:17.005205+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, the image of suits flocking the FedEx delivery like kids to an ice cream vendor does have its comedic possibilities, though.

One of the off-the-wall proposals I made at Planet9 was that it'd be cool to use their 3d models of cities in conjunction with such a service...

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-11 18:25:21.582405+00 by: ebradway

Gary Hasty at BellSouth has been working on a similar project but for more devious motives. I would suspect that both UPS and FedEx are pushing data from the trucks to their data servers. Adding the current location of the truck wouldn't be a problem and adding a map to your tracking probably wouldn't add that much overhead.

Of course, their customers would be able to see the path that the UPS truck takes and how many times it drives past your house going to the opposite end of town for other deliveries. I would bet that there is a small fortune in gas savings to be had to someone who can piece together a system that charts an optimal route for a driver and automates package sorting in the truck so the packages come out in FIFO order. And the system could also dynamically reroute to provide redelivery attempts in the same day.

It's not rocket science - it's geographic information science...

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-11 20:14:27.193971+00 by: meuon

They are GPS enabled Satellite systems (GlobalStar/Qualcomm/others..) they just don't let YOU have the location information.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-11 23:06:19.211751+00 by: polly

and when you mix FEDEX with UPS...you get FedUP

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-12 01:56:19.207683+00 by: Larry Burton

Speaking of satellite systems, GPS and not allowing you access, has this OnStar hack been mentioned in here before?

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-12 12:25:02.097167+00 by: petronius

The suits mobbing the FedEx truck is an arresting image, but mightant the same thing happen with the pickup truck? I once read an interview with a FedEx clerk at their office on LaSalle St., Chicago's home to high finance and gilt-edge law firms. The last pickup for next day delivery was at 10 PM. Yet paralegals and lawyers were banging on the door at 10:15 demanding that their package be taken or there would be hair-raising lawsuits. Since the next truck wasn't due until the next morning, the clerk explained that their only hope was to drive 25 miles to the industrial wasteland behind the airport and find the sorting facility. I could see these people racing up the expressway, trying to curb the pickup truck.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-12 21:14:42.014222+00 by: baylink

You *used* to be able to drop packages at Tampa International Airport's Cargo Row until midnight for next day air for all the major carriers, but after some incidents, including at least one involving someone with a gun, they stopped. This was back in 98 or 99, so it's not a TSA thing, either.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-13 01:24:56.864259+00 by: Dan Lyke

Back in 1995/96 we knew by heart the Southwest Airlines schedule out of OAK because we'd be shipping CDs to LA, and wanted to eek out every extra minute to get new features in before the latest version went off to testing.

But recently I had a document that needed to be signed under time pressure, and the only way that any airline would take it was with a human on board the flight as well.