General Question

Rememberme's avatar

How do UPS trucks nagivate?

Asked by Rememberme (661points) May 31st, 2009

Someone told me that the UPS delivery trucks have a special GPS navigation system. The GPS can tell the driver the fastest delivery route when there is traffic, the fewest left turns and to avoid major roads. Pretty much the most efficient route so even the not-so-smart delivery truck drivers can do it.

Does anyone work for UPS or has a friend that could verify this information?

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4 Answers

whatthefluther's avatar

I can’t answer your specific question. but here in the Los Angeles, UPS drivers have established routes.

MrGV's avatar

They have a specific route that they drive whenever they are scheduled to drive.

kevbo's avatar

UPS uses a proprietary system that creates a route for every driver based on that day’s deliveries. Once deliveries are assigned to a truck/driver, the system follows it’s algorithms to create the most efficient route (which includes minimizing left hand turns). The route is downloaded in the form of a sorted list of addresses and deliveries into those electronic boards thatthey carry around and have you sign. So all re driver has to do is look at his list from top to bottom to see what his sequence of deliveries is. The board itself is what has the GPS capability (the trucks might, too, but the board is the primary tracking/delivery tool. Also, packages can be tracked in real-time via the boards, and the driver can send and receive texts.

It’s less about the intelligence of the driver, by the way, than maximizing and standardizing efficiency. Every human in the delivery chain at UPS doesn’t just do their job. They do it in a specific and prescribed way to keep the flow of packages predictable and to maximize re use of space, time and fuel in ways that promote safety and reasonable efficiency. The drivers know their routes amazingly well (down to customer prefences about drop locations), and even have garage and house codes for some customers, so they are very familiar with the opportunities to create efficiency. Because they are union and due to human nature, many will sandbag or worse, so the GPS keeps them honest.

Rememberme's avatar

thanks for the details!

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