America's next-generation mail trucks won't drive themselves or burn unwanted catalogs for fuel, but they will contain advanced technology never before available to the nation's postal carriers.
Such as antilock brakes, airbags and air conditioning.
Better late than never, as they might say at the U.S. Postal Service when delivering misdirected Christmas presents in mid-February.
The Postal Service last week selected Oshkosh Defense for a multibillion-dollar contract to build up to 165,000 of the trucks over the next decade.
Oshkosh beat out Karsan, a Turkish company proposing to build plug-in hybrids, and Workhorse, an Ohio company connected to startup electric truckmaker Lordstown Motors, for the mail truck contract. (Investors in Workhorse were so confident that the company would win that the news sent its stock plunging by almost half.)
The Oshkosh trucks, with tall windshields and low hoods that look torn from a low-budget sci-fi cartoon, will replace the Postal Service's fleet of Grumman Long Life Vehicles in use since the 1980s, before air conditioning and airbags were as common as they are today.
The new trucks, due to start entering service in 2023, also have automatic braking, backup cameras, blind-spot alerts and sensors in the front and rear bumpers, among more recent innovations.