Exclusive – Interview with Ted Fagenson, Chief Commercial Officer of Udelv
12 April 2022

Exclusive – Interview with Ted Fagenson, Chief Commercial Officer of Udelv

The future of delivery is taking shape with Ziegler.Ziegler is the first logistics operator in the European Union to pre-ordering a dozen autonomous vehicles developed by the American company Udelv.  With the first vehicle arriving in Europe at the end of 2022, Ted Fagenson, Chief Commercial Officer of Udelv, pulls back the curtain on its characteristics and advantages in this exclusive interview for Ziegler.

The “Transporter”, which was physically unveiled in early January at CES in Las Vegas, is the first autonomous vehicle (AV) from Udelv to be produced on a large scale. The American start up is collecting many pre-orders, mainly in the United States.  However, Ted Fagenson says he is surprised that Europe is in a good position for AV adoption and might even be ahead of the US. For example, it was just last year that Germany became the first country in the world to allow Level 4 autonomous driving on its roads at the federal level.

The Transporter is driven completely autonomously – calculating and optimising the best route to take. To do this, Udelv uses software and systems from Mobileye, an Intel Group company. Today, 100 million vehicles already use Mobileye’s ADAS technology. Mobileye has expanded beyond ADAS systems and is offering a reliable system for getting from point A to point B in autonomous driving. However, there are situations where it is important to take manual control of the vehicle, which is done by Tele-operators. This means that an operator can remotely disengage the autonomous system and manually control the Transporter. One Tele-operator can manage several vehicles at one time.

Ted Fagenson explains that the Transporter is the result of many years of experience and testing, especially on the uPod, a secure dual-sided modular cargo area that can hold up to 80 secure compartments.

The next step for Udelv will be to physically bring the Transporter to public roads. In the past few years, Udelv has made 20,000 deliveries with its autonomous vehicles. Technically, the Transporter’s uPod smart cargo system offers up to one ton of total payload capacity. The Transporter offers large space on its sides for banners that are fully customizable and can be used as spaces for dialogue, allowing the public to truly connect with the Transporter. If the uPod is removed, the load capacity reaches 2500 kgs, like a trailer, and can be used for transporting larger bulky goods.

The Transporter offers different battery packs ranging from 90 to 160 kilowatt hours depending on the user’s profile.  Udelv is particularly focused on reducing the vehicle’s mass, because less mass means energy savings. And since there is no cabin, steering wheel, pedals or passenger safety system, the Transporter is quite light.

The autonomous vehicle will be linked to the operator’s TMS system via APIs and dashboards. It will track all of the delivery stages and can provide proof of delivery if necessary. When the Transporter approaches the destination, the consignee will authenticate himself via his smartphone as he walks to the vehicle. Ziegler will be informed in real time that the consignee has just opened his compartment and picked up his delivery. The recipient will also be able to sign with his fingerprint using the app. In addition, the camera system will allow video monitoring of the delivery while in progress and can take pictures of the person picking up the package if necessary. This provides two advantages: a guarantee that only the authorised person has picked up the package, because only authorised persons have access to the app. The second advantage is that the risk of fraud will be considerably reduced as a result.