- The United States Postal Service is adopting Nvidia's artificial intelligence (AI) technology to improve end-to-end parcel data processing speeds and accuracy, the company announced in a press release Tuesday.
- Nvidia's AI technology and edge computing system will be deployed at approximately 200 USPS locations nationwide in a pilot phase starting this year. Nvidia expects the system to be fully operational by spring 2020.
- The Postal Service already has automated parcel processing systems in select national facilities to improve throughput rates on high volumes of e-commerce packages in particular. According to Nvidia, the AI program will enable USPS to process parcel data 10 times faster than it does currently.
Months prior to Tuesday's announcement, USPS and Nvidia had been training multiple AI algorithms using Nvidia's Tensor RT and a scalable IoT edge computing system to collect and process parcel data in USPS facilities, with the ultimate goal of improving delivery services.
When asked for comment, a USPS spokesperson told Supply Chain Dive via email that the Postal Service had no additional information to add at this time, though "As we move forward with the work under this agreement, we may have more to say next year about our progress."
The Postal Service delivers 146 billion pieces of mail annually, of which more than 6 billion are packages. Under its universal delivery mandate, it has a nationwide logistics footprint that should make it a last-mile delivery powerhouse. However, as private-sector competitors in the industry continue to grow and innovate, USPS has seen revenues and package volumes decline.
There are a variety of reasons for this, the key ones being that USPS is self-supported via postage revenues and receives no federal funding, which, combined with a government mandate that it deliver anywhere in the United States (a rule private companies like UPS and FedEx don't have to abide by), means resources are spread thin.
Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan said in a statement that federal, regulatory and pricing changes were all needed to help turn things around, however USPS is also undergoing internal efficiency and operating model improvements to save costs.
If the Nvidia partnership is successful, the efficiency gains could potentially contribute to these cost savings and service improvement.