USPS OIG Report: “A large majority of Americans believe delivery robots will be in use within the next five years”

USPS OIG Report: “A large majority of Americans believe delivery robots will be in use within the next five years”

A new report from the US Postal Service (USPS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has revealed that “a large majority of Americans believe delivery robots will be in use within the next five years”.

As delivery robots have already begun to make an appearance – albeit in “test” mode – in the streets of cities in the US, Europe and Asia, the OIG decided to gauge the public perception of the technology using an online survey targeting a nationally representative sample of residents 18-75 years old in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in late November and early December 2017.

In its report – which was published yesterday (9 April) – the OIG said that the key findings of the survey included:

• Lower awareness: While many respondents reported knowing something about drones or self-driving vehicles, far fewer have seen or heard about delivery robots.

• Rapid rollout: After learning about the idea, a large majority of survey participants say that they believe delivery robots will be in use within the next 5 years.

• A positive reaction  — and a potential winner for the USPS brand: Many more report liking the delivery robot concepts than disliking them. The Helper Robot concept was exceptionally well received, providing large boosts to USPS’ brand positivity and its image as an innovative organization if implemented.

• Flexible delivery and improved working conditions are robots’ best perceived benefits: The ability to receive deliveries when and where recipients choose is viewed as Independent Delivery’s greatest benefit, while Helper Robots’ ability to improve working conditions and reduce injuries for delivery people are perceived as that concept’s best benefits.

• Open to receive and willing to pay: Three in four of those surveyed are open to —or would always prefer —receiving delivery from a robot. Many also report that they would be willing to pay slightly more to receive the touted benefits of robot delivery.

• Limited concerns: The public has some concerns about the safety of delivery robots, but their primary concern is with potential job losses for delivery people.

• Different groups, different perspectives: Millennials and urban residents like the idea of delivery robots more than their older or more rural counterparts.

Weighing up the pros and cons, the OIG report said that the USPS “may someday consider incorporating delivery robots into its operations”, but added that it would have to keep a “close eye” on public opinion.

Click here to access the OIG report.


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