The Field Robotics Center (FRC) and the Vision and Autonomous Systems Center (VASC) performed an engineering design study for the US Postal Service (USPS) in 1992, in order to develop an automated system for
handling mail trailers at the USPS's bulk mail centers (BMC). The goal was to devise an automated method, to improve on the current method which uses human-driven spotter-tractors to move hundreds of these mail trailers within a BMC. The study concluded that the best and most economically feasible approach was to automate the existing spotters and to develop a multi-vehicle operational scenario using novel mechanical approaches, planning/control software, and a new
radio-based navigation system to move and dock trailers within the facility.