Richard Zech has always been passionate about building and creating things from scratch. Zech was in the fashion and footwear industry for 20 years before starting his own logistics company, Avanator LLC, and becoming an Amazon Delivery Service Partner (DSP). He takes pride in his company's core values: putting family and people first, giving back to the community, being humble, and having fun.
"It has always been important to me to drive meaningful change," said Zech. "As a DSP, every day is new, different, and exciting. I love customer service, leading teams, and building projects from the ground up. Working with such talented individuals is a pleasure. I am committed to ensuring that these drivers receive the support they need daily and that their routes are safe."
We agree. Safety is integral to everything we do—every day, in every country, and in every operation. We saw an opportunity through our ongoing dialogues with DSPs to develop a new mapping and routing technology that would have a direct impact on safety, including a faster way to update routes to detour around construction and add new roadway signage to better guide drivers. Over the past two years, we've developed and piloted this new technology, called Fleet Edge, to automatically detect changes in roads, traffic signs, and highways. Fleet Edge continuously refreshes on-road information into our mapping software, providing the most up-to-date routing data for drivers delivering packages.
“This has been a game-changer for our drivers. They've told me directly that the system saves them time by making navigation safer and easier.”
Previously, a driver might have faced a challenge like a recent road closure due to construction. It might have taken several weeks for that update to make it into our routing software, adding more time required on behalf of for the driver to navigate around the closure. With Fleet Edge, an in-vehicle computer, street-view camera, and GPS receiver keep up with the rapidly changing road environment and capture changes that day, so drivers have fewer disruptions during their delivery experience.
"With the help of drivers and DSPs, we identified the need to improve safety and provide more precise and accurate routes that better reflect the constantly changing on-road environment," said Beryl Tomay, vice president of Amazon Last Mile Delivery technology. "By investing in Fleet Edge, we're creating a more safe and seamless experience for drivers’ and eliminating on-road navigation challenges that add time to routes."
Here's how it works: when the driver is en route, the Fleet Edge system detects newly constructed roads, traffic signs, closures, and buildings, automatically and continuously updating the navigation for future routes with a more comprehensive and current map of the area. Over the past few months, more than 33,000 new signs have been added to Amazon’s mapping system. By providing the most up-to-date information on road conditions, drivers can avoid challenging driving maneuvers, reduce the need for U-turns, and bypass road hazards. Additionally, the accuracy of GPS location has increased by 260% in the test areas, improving navigation safety by announcing upcoming turns sooner.
"This has been a game-changer for our drivers," said Zech. "They've told me directly that the system saves them time by making navigation safer and easier."
We understand the importance of protecting the privacy of customers and drivers. All personally identifiable information is automatically removed or blurred, including any individuals who walk in front of the vehicles. The system works with artificial intelligence and machine learning to scan the road for changes before adding, and the data collected is always encrypted.
In the last year, we have invested more than a billion dollars in new technology, process improvements, and rate increases for the DSP program. Many of those changes were in response to feedback and input from our DSPs and drivers. We look forward to continuing to partner with drivers and DSPs to find ways to improve their experience delivering for customers and the communities we serve.