10 December 2018

KU Engineering Students Partner with Chanje to Improve Package Delivery Process

Originally Published by the University of Kansas

This past year a Chanje electric delivery van served as the foundation of a senior capstone project for a group of mechanical engineering students at the University of Kansas. Read the full article, originally published by KU, to learn how they completed the challenge of making the last mile delivery space more automated.

LAWRENCE, Kansas — Someday in the not-too-distant future, the person delivering a package to your front door might not be a person at all. Instead, a driverless van might pull up in front of your house, the back doors open, and a robotic arm hands out that book you’ve ordered from Amazon.

That’s the idea proposed by a group of University of Kansas School of Engineering mechanical engineering students during their 2017-18 senior capstone project. It’s a dream that may soon become a reality thanks to the leadership of a KU alumnus at a California-based company looking to reinvent the “last-mile” package delivery industry.

“There’s hundreds of thousands of delivery vehicles making deliveries,” said Austin Hausmann, a KU mechanical engineering graduate who now serves as vice president of research and product development for Chanje, a company working to deliver turnkey energy infrastructure services for the last-mile industry. “With the rise of e-commerce, that’s only increasing. Unfortunately, we’re solving this with fossil-fuel vehicles. Every efficiency you can gain, to drive seconds or miles out of a fleet’s day, has a huge impact.”

Chanje is already addressing the issue with its line of fast-charging electrical delivery vans. But in autumn of 2017, Hausmann returned to the School of Engineering and offered the senior students a challenge: How to make the process more automated?

“We introduced them to the product and the business model, gave them the operating conditions and said, ‘Here’s the challenge.’ A typical delivery driver is in and out of the vehicle a hundred times a day. That’s stress on the body. We gave them some use cases but no direction on how to solve it,” Hausmann said.

It was a vague order, Hausmann admits, but one intended to open the door to a variety of possibilities. “We wanted the students to come up with a solution,” he said. “We wanted their creativity to come through.”

Eric Ferguson and Lauren Sherwood, then-seniors from Lenexa and Topeka, respectively, were part of the senior group that accepted the challenge.

“They really gave us a lot of freedom for this project,” Ferguson said. “We had a really abstract goal.”

The students were also excited by the opportunity. “My class lucked out,” Sherwood said. “ We got to work with a super-cool startup with a really unique project.”

With a wide-open charge, the students dug in. “The first semester was entirely conceptual work — were we going to do something with robots, drones?” Ferguson said. “We ran into a lot of regulatory issues, technological issues.”

They broke the delivery process down into four stages: Package to truck, truck to neighborhood, package off truck and getting the package to the delivery doorstep. They investigated the market, with a particular look at Amazon’s practices.

“We had to dig into that, figure out what people are doing and why they aren’t doing these things,” Sherwood said.

The idea for an autonomous robotic arm — to handle packages inside the truck and hand them out to a driver — came only at the end of the semester. “There was no ‘Aha!’ moment,” Sherwood said. “It was definitely an iterative process.”

The solution proved surprisingly simple — and already available to use: a Universal Robots UR10 robotic arm. The device weighs about 30 pounds and can extend to 6 feet in length. The senior students brought in a delivery van from California, then spent the spring semester figuring out how to install the arm in the van, how to program it to do the work needed to move packages around inside the vehicle and ensure the right package gets to the right customer.

Hausmann was delighted by the proposal.

“It’s a relatively small robotic arm,” he said. “It’s really flexible to move throughout the vehicle.”

For the students, it was an opportunity to put the lessons of their School of Engineering education to use — as well as to make a first mark on the industry.

“It’s definitely nice to see how a lot of things we learned in school, that I thought I would never use again, be used in the course of this project,” said Sherwood, who now works for FM Global in Chicago.

“It’s a source of pride to our team and school to have a hand in innovating,” added Ferguson, who now works for Hartfiel Automation in Lenexa. “I’ve always loved the idea of inventing and creating new things. To work with such a leading edge company to have a chance to affect the future of a big industry, I loved it.”

Now Chanje is working to proceed with the seniors’ proposal, looking for opportunities to bring it to market.

“We haven’t seen companies executing something like this,” Hausmann said. “This is a very early step, and there’s a lot of work to be done yet, but it’s opened up our thinking about how this can be a scalable effort moving forward.”

Hausmann said his own passion for electric vehicles was developed during his years at KU. He said the capstone project was good for both the students and his company.

“This program is unique in that it allows the students to impact the industry in a meaningful way,” he said. “And we get access to creative ideas on how to move forward.”

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As defined above, Personally-Identifying Information is information that can be directly associated with a specific person. Chanje may collect a range of Personally-Identifying Information from and about Website users. Much of the Personally-Identifying Information collected by Chanje about users is information provided by users themselves when (1) registering for a Chanje account to seek more information or receive updates, (2) logging in with social network credentials, (3) participating in polls, contests, surveys or other features of our website, (4) communicating with us, (5) creating a public profile or (6) signing up to receive newsletters. That information may include each user’s name, address, email address and telephone number, and, if you transact business with us, financial information such as your payment method (valid credit card number, type, expiration date or other financial information). We also may request information about your interests and activities, your gender, age, date of birth, username, hometown and other demographic or relevant information as determined by Chanje from time to time. Users of the Website are under no obligation to provide Chanje with Personally-Identifying Information of any kind, with the caveat that a user’s refusal to do so may prevent the user from using certain Website features.



Certain Personally-Identifying Information collected from users may be disclosed as a matter of course as a result of your use of the Website. We may provide areas on the Website where you can post reviews and other information relating to your activities on the Website.Such postings may appear on other websites or when searches are executed on the subject of your posting. Also, whenever you voluntarily disclose personal information on publicly-viewable web pages, that information will be publicly available and can be collected and used by others. For example, if you post your email address, you may receive unsolicited messages. We cannot control who reads your posting or what other users may do with the information you voluntarily post, so we encourage you to exercise discretion and caution with respect to your personal information. USERS ASSUME ALL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY LOSS OF PRIVACY OR OTHER HARM RESULTING FROM THEIR VOLUNTARY DISCLOSURE OF PERSONALLY IDENTIFYING INFORMATION.


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• By Law or to Protect Rights. When we believe disclosure is appropriate, we may disclose Personally-Identifying Information in connection with efforts to investigate, prevent or take other action regarding illegal activity, suspected fraud or other wrongdoing; to protect and defend the rights, property or safety of Chanje, our users, our employees, contractors, affiliates or others; to comply with applicable law or cooperate with law enforcement; to enforce the terms of this Privacy Policy or other agreements or policies, in response to a subpoena or similar investigative demand, a court order or a request for cooperation from a law enforcement or other government agency; to establish or exercise our legal rights; to defend against legal claims; or as otherwise required by law. In such cases, we may raise or waive any legal objection or right available to us.

• Marketing Communications. Unless users opt-out from receiving Chanje marketing materials upon registration, Chanje may contact users about products and services that Chanje believes may be of interest to them through direct mailings, e-mail or by telephone. If you wish to opt-out of receiving marketing materials from Chanje, you may do so by following the unsubscribe link in the email communications, by going to your account settings (if applicable) or contacting us using the contact information below.

• Third-Party Service Providers. We may share your Personally-Identifying Information, which may include your name and contact information (including email address) with our authorized service providers that perform certain services on our behalf. These services may include fulfilling orders, providing customer service and marketing assistance, performing business and sales analysis, supporting the Website’s functionality and supporting contests, sweepstakes, surveys and other features offered through the Website. We may also share your name, contact information and credit card information with our authorized service providers who process credit card payments. These service providers may have access to personal information needed to perform their functions but are not permitted to share or use such information for any other purpose.

• Business Transfers; Bankruptcy. Chanje reserves the right to transfer all Personally-Identifying Information in its possession to a successor organization in the event of a merger, acquisition, bankruptcy or other sale of all or a portion of Chanje’s assets. Other than to the extent ordered by a bankruptcy or other court, the use and disclosure of all transferred Personally-Identifying Information will be subject to this Privacy Policy, or to a new privacy policy if you are given notice of that new privacy policy and are given an opportunity to affirmatively opt-out of it. Personally-Identifying Information submitted or collected after a transfer, however, may be subject to a new privacy policy adopted by the successor organization.


You may at any time review or change your Personally-Identifying Information by going to your account settings (if applicable) or contacting us using the contact information below. Upon your request, we will deactivate or delete your account and contact information from our active databases. Such information will be deactivated or deleted as soon as practicable based on your account activity and accordance with our deactivation policy and applicable law. To make this request, either go to your account settings (if applicable) or contact us as provided below. We will retain in our files some Personally-Identifying Information to prevent fraud, to troubleshoot problems, to assist with any investigations, to enforce our Terms of Use and to comply with legal requirements as is permitted by law. Therefore, you should not expect that all your Personally-Identifying Information will be completely removed from our databases in response to your requests. Additionally, we keep a history of changed information to investigate suspected fraud with your account.


Chanje uses the Personally-Identifying Information in the file we maintain about you, and other information we obtain from your current and past activities on the Website (1) to deliver the products and services that you have requested; (2) to manage your account and provide you with customer support; (3) to communicate with you by email, postal mail, telephone and/or mobile devices about products or services that may be of interest to you either from us or our affiliate companies; (4) to develop and display content tailored to your interests on the Website and other sites; (5) to resolve disputes and troubleshoot problems; (6) to measure consumer interest in our products and services; (7) to inform you of updates; (8) to customize your experience; (9) to detect and protect us against error, fraud and other criminal activity; and (10) to do as otherwise described to you at the time of collection. At times, we may look across multiple users to identify problems. In particular, we may examine your Personally-Identifying Information to identify users using multiple user IDs or aliases. We may compare and review your Personally-Identifying Information for accuracy and to detect errors and omissions. We may use financial information or payment method to process payment for any purchases made on the Website, enroll you in the discount, rebate, and other programs in which you elect to participate, to protect against or identify possible fraudulent transactions and otherwise as needed to manage our business.


Chanje prohibits its contractors, affiliates, vendors and suppliers from disclosing Personally-Identifying Information received from Chanje, other than in accordance with this Privacy Policy. However, third parties are under no obligation to comply with this Privacy Policy with respect to Personally-Identifying Information that users provide directly to those third parties, or that those third parties collect for themselves. Thus, this Privacy Policy does not apply to information provided to or gathered by the third parties that operate them. Before visiting a third party, or using a third-party application, whether by means of a link on the Website, directly through the Website or otherwise, and before providing any Personally-Identifying Information to any such third party, users should inform themselves of the privacy policies and practices (if any) of the third party responsible for that website, and should take those steps necessary to, in those users’ discretion, protect their privacy.


We take the security of your Personally-Identifying Information seriously and use reasonable electronic, personnel and physical measures to protect it from loss, theft, alteration or misuse. However, please be advised that even the best security measures cannot fully eliminate all risks. We cannot guarantee that only authorized persons will view your information. We are not responsible for third-party circumvention of any privacy settings or security measures.

We are dedicated to protect all information on the Website as is necessary. However, you are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your Personally-Identifying Information by keeping your password confidential. You should change your password immediately if you believe someone has gained unauthorized access to it or your account. If you lose control of your account, you should notify us immediately.


Chanje may, in its sole discretion, change this Privacy Policy from time to time. Any and all changes to Chanje’s Privacy Policy will be reflected on this page and the date new versions are posted will be stated at the top of this Privacy Policy. Unless stated otherwise, our current Privacy Policy applies to all information that we have about you and your account. Users should regularly check this page for any changes to this Privacy Policy. Chanje will always post new versions of the Privacy Policy on the Website. However, Chanje may, as determined in its discretion, decide to notify users of changes made to this Privacy Policy via email or otherwise. Accordingly, it is important that users always maintain and update their contact information.


The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act ("COPPA") protects the online privacy of children under 13 years of age. We do not knowingly collect or maintain Personally-Identifying Information from anyone under the age of 13, unless or except as permitted by law. Any person who provides Personally-Identifying Information through the Website represents to us that he or she is 13 years of age or older. If we learn that Personally-Identifying Information has been collected from a user under 13 years of age on or through the Website, then we will take the appropriate steps to cause this information to be deleted. If you are the parent or legal guardian of a child under 13 who has become a member of the Website or has otherwise transferred Personally-Identifying Information to the Website, please contact Chanje using our contact information below to have that child's account terminated and information deleted.


Most web browsers and some mobile operating systems include a Do-Not-Track (“DNT”) feature or setting you can activate to signal your privacy preference not to have data about your online browsing activities monitored and collected. Because there is not yet a common understanding of how to interpret the DNT signal, the Website currently does not respond to DNT browser signals or mechanisms.


If you have any questions regarding our Privacy Policy, please contact our Privacy Officer at

Chanje Energy, Inc.

Attn: Ian Televik

1025 Rollins Road

Burlingame, CA 94010

Email: info@chanje.us

Phone: (650) 581-1656