Governor Glenn Youngkin ceremonially signed State Senator Siobhan Dunnavant’s (R-Henrico) SB 774 to allow the use of “bus boxes” underneath school buses to deliver packages – an invention of Clueless Robotics, a team of middle school students from Saint Bridget Catholic School. Two boxes per bus yield a 22-square foot capacity aimed at solving the last-mile delivery problem, as most logistics costs reside in the final mile of delivery. They also think it could help solve a school bus driver shortage by allowing drivers to continue to work even when not carrying students.
“Public schools have struggled to find bus drivers, needing to increase their pay. More drivers would work if their pay was higher and the school district offered a full-time job,” the team’s presentation states.
Their proposal calls for school districts to partner with Amazon, which would pay for the delivery services. Amazon would deliver packages to the bus lot before it leaves in the morning to take students to school. Then, after dropping the students off, the bus driver would deliver the packages.
“We plan to encourage rural neighborhoods to install Amazon lockers outside their neighborhoods for easy delivery,” one student says in a Clueless Robotics video.
“It’s especially hard for people in rural areas to receive Amazon deliveries because not many trucks want to drive all the way out there just to make a few deliveries,” the student said.
In a press release Wednesday, Youngkin said, “From day one, I have focused on providing Virginia’s students with a best-in-class education. The ‘bus box’ is a perfect example of what’s possible when we foster innovation, provide the necessary educational resources, and encourage our students to excel.”
The team also recently won the “Rising All-Stars Award” for its Cher robot at the FIRST LEGO League World Championship in Houston.
– – –