Autonomous vehicles driving forward

Autonomous vehicles driving forward

Saeed Mumtaz, Director of Research and Consultancy at Triangle Management Services, asks if mobile parcel lockers could be on the horizon. Uber, Ford and DHL have recently made announcements on technology advancements which, if they were to converge, could form the basis for a new delivery option in the express market.

The BBC reported that Uber announced that they will have autonomous vehicles on the road in a fortnight. Ford announced that one of the first driverless fleet application’s would be parcel delivery on a commercial level by 2021. DHL in the meantime is planning to sell its StreetScooter electric vehicles by 2017, to which the above technology and existing delivery platform could be added.

From an industry viewpoint e-commerce is driving the parcel market and consumers demand easy delivery and returns services. There are many channels of delivery to make this process more convenient, including tracking and re-routing, but still there are issues.

New Convergence opportunities of mobile, tracking and driverless technology
One opportunity that could appear from technology convergence is mobile parcel lockers. Imagine an autonomous vehicle that would bring your parcel to a convenient pick up or drop off point over a period of time.  Your smartphone would let you know its location at all times and then access the parcel for pick up or drop off. Google already have a patent for type of concept and there may be other options that can be considered.

This delivery channel may solve a number of problems in urban areas, for both consumers and delivery partners. This type of vehicle could make sense and may overcome some of the technical, economic and regulatory issues associated with drone technology.

The future is now
With the pace of developments accelerating, which type of autonomous vehicle will dominate the delivery space? It will be interesting to watch this space as developments occur and other players enter this market. There is no doubt we are in for an exciting time in delivery evolution and it appears closer every day.

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