When looking at the postal industry, Austin Oehlerking saw an opportunity in the final mile of package delivery. He thought that too many packages were being misdelivered, stolen, or struck by delays — something that is particularly irritating for customers, who have limited patience with 12 hour delivery windows.
Together with Mark Godwin, he set up Boxbot in 2016, aiming to automate as much of the delivery process as possible. Self-driving vans dock in a delivery hub, in which packages are sorted and loaded automatically. They are then given an optimised route and the promise of a one-hour delivery window for customers, who, when the truck arrives, are advised to approach the vehicle and key in a code — popping open a compartment in which their package is waiting.
“Boxbot drivers can get more done in less time, without worrying about loading, organising or finding packages in their vehicles,” a promotional video explains.
Before Boxbot, he spent three years as Senior Software Engineer at Tesla Motors, working on the Model S. He was also a Graduate Researcher at MIT, with a specific interest in electric vehicles, power electronics, and robotics; and set up SharpEdge Studios, which developed a space-themed massively multiplayer online game.
He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.