Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, center, tours Amazon headquarters in Seattle. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tim D. Godbee.

Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, center, tours Amazon headquarters in Seattle. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tim D. Godbee.

Amazon has assembled a team of about a dozen employees to assess how the online retailer can use self-driving vehicles to speed customer deliveries and lower shipping costs, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The team’s work is part of a broader company initiative to assume greater control over product deliveries in the future, according to the report. The team formed more than a year ago.

Amazon’s future role in the development of an autonomous vehicle fleet is still unclear. However, the Wall Street Journal noted that the company recently posted a want ad for research scientists in the Amazon Robotics division to work on “future mobility and transportation systems.”

Also, earlier this year, Amazon won a patent for a network that assists self-driving vehicles in adjusting to changes in driving environments and traffic flow.

Amazon is headquartered in Seattle.

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