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Autonomous Delivery Services: A New Reality

IntroThe demand and supply has to be perennial. Due to the prolonged pandemic daily markets, shopping malls, and physical markets faces complete lockdown, hence, the online market place or say e-commerce has found its way to cater its customer by enabling last-mile delivery services. Though catering to global customers managing the demand and enabling safe and reliable last-mile delivery is prone to critical challenges.  Therefore, e-commerce platforms are more vigorously opting for autonomous delivery services and also automating their warehouses to manage huge inventories.

Working during these pandemic times for humans comprises challenges hitting e-commerce business processes as real-time action is the core business model. Hence, technology push is helping markets to lead them to new heights.

Though, autonomous vehicles were a long-awaited technology we always dreamed of having, many self-driving vehicle companies made their debut in the pandemic era and helped to provide various services all around the world.

Fig 1As the need for social distancing has become a new reality, it has created new opportunities for many autonomous delivery services companies to shift their focus to transporting food and goods via autonomous delivery services via autonomous trucks, vans, sidewalk delivery robots, etc.

But are autonomous delivery services safe enough to be launched at a large scale in real-time and what prospects can we expect in this market as we go further?

Why Do We Need Autonomous Delivery Services?

E-Commerce Customers: With the world coming to a standstill on the outbreak of a pandemic, people shifted their attention to e-commerce sites to satisfy their daily needs while maintaining social distancing at the time of delivery. This is one of the factors that drive the demand for autonomous delivery services.

Products: As people were forced to stay at home while doing remote work, many of them came up with a lack of utilities either for food or for their works. Autonomous delivery services played an integral part in supplying these products at the right time.

Safety and Speedy Deliveries: Autonomous delivery services provide safety in terms of contactless delivery while also maintaining the speed of the delivery in record time.

Efficiency: Being equipped with GPS tracking and various kinds of sensor systems, autonomous delivery services offer far more efficiency in finding a delivery address than a normal driver thus cutting the loss of time to a great extent.

Popular Types of Autonomous Delivery Vehicles

Side-walk Vehicles: Sidewalk vehicles travel at a speed of 4-6 km/hr. Low speed of the vehicle is chosen to increase safety and it also gives enough time to remote operators to take control of the vehicle in case of an emergency. These vehicles can also be categorized as a type of personal device depending on the individual user.

Autonomous Delivery Trucks: Though new to the market scenario, autonomous trucks solve major key points facing the trucking industry like driver shortage and productivity. With their efficient GPS Tracking system and safe delivery, autonomous trucks are gradually becoming the new choice of many delivery companies.

imagesOn-Road Delivery Vans: Autonomous delivery vans present another autonomous delivery service as it is an electric-based on-road vehicle. They are proving to be a competitor to sidewalk last-mile delivery robots. Their sensor system and algorithms are very similar to autonomous cars, except for a few changes.

On-road delivery pods normally travel at a low speed therefore, the perception of this technology is not long-ranged as it gives more thinking and reaction time to the vehicles.

Market Insights on Autonomous Delivery Services

Adapting to the market needs in the post COVID world, many industries had started applying new innovative methods to keep their businesses afloat. And seeing the latest trend of robots and autonomous vehicles, the latest example of innovation can be seen by Domino’s chain in Houston.

Fig 3Dominos has recently launched its autonomous pizza delivery services using Nuro’s technology of self-driving vehicles to make their customers happy while also providing contactless delivery at their doorsteps.

Another example of autonomous delivery services can be seen in the state of Michigan where lunch orders are delivered using Refraction AI’s last-mile REV-1 autonomous delivery robot. The robot offers local delivery services between stores and customers and the service can be availed easily by simply registering for REV-1’s lunch delivery that offers various kinds of cuisine from a variety of restaurants.

To satisfy the needs of people isolated at home, many companies have launched their delivery robots like Amazon, Google, FedEx, Starship Technologies, Robomart and Kiwi that are offering delivery robots services while supplying food and supplies since last year to students at over a dozen campuses in the US.

Likewise, many companies in China started offering autonomous delivery services at the time of the corona outbreak to ensure the safety of the people.

Future Prospect of Autonomous Delivery Services

Despite many challenges ahead in the autonomous delivery services market ranging from technology development to law regulations, people have to prepare themselves for a new normal once the pandemic situation is controlled and having autonomous delivery robots in our workplaces, public spaces and streets.


Aishwarya Saxena

A book geek, with creative mind, an electronics degree, and zealous for writing.Creativity is the one thing in her opinion which drove her to enter into editing field. Allured towards south Indian cuisine and culture, love to discover new cultures and their customs. Relishes in discovering new music genres.

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