USPS carrier Stephanie Starr, of Seymour, pushes a mail cart. Photo: Joel Philippsen / AP

The United States Postal Service is working with the University of Michigan to launch an "Autonomous Rural Delivery Vehicle" as soon as 2025, according to a Wired report. Postal workers will be behind the wheel sorting mail and placing it into mailboxes, while the vehicle drives down the street.

  • The first prototype is expected this December from the University of Michigan. In 2019, 10 prototypes will be piloted on rural routes by the USPS, and a nationwide deployment of vehicles will take place between 2022 and 2025. The autonomous vehicles could help save the postal service money by cutting down on crash-related costs and fuel.
  • With the trucks, USPS joins a trend in which delivery companies are rolling out autonomous vehicles globally. Among them is Germany's Deutsche Post DHL, which plans to deploy self-driving trucks next year.

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Updated 56 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022
  2. Politics: Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases
  4. Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Many of the states where coronavirus cases have recently skyrocketed are also seeing the highest death rates in the nation, a painful reminder that wherever the virus goes, death eventually follows.

Between the lines: Deaths usually lag behind cases by a few weeks. Given America's record-high case counts, it's reasonable to expect that death rates across the country will continue to rise in tandem.

Amy Harder, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Science

Pandemic scrambles Americans' acceptance of science

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic is throwing a wrench into Americans' understanding of science, which has big implications for climate change.

Driving the news: Recent focus groups in battleground states suggest some voters are more skeptical of scientists in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, while surveys reveal the persistence of a deep partisan divide.