Robot Package Deliveries

Cities must consider how to make the best use of public spaces as automated delivery becomes more common. Benefits of robot deliveries could include lower delivery costs for companies, faster customer support, energy efficiency and sustainability, delivery staff protection, and accuracy in delivering the right product to the right customer. Robotic distribution has been restricted to some areas due to issues such as congested sidewalks, malevolent actions by bystanders, and strict government principles.

1. Digit from Ford

How Digit Works

2. Amazon Prime Air

Although the Prime Air fleet isn’t yet able to distribute packages at scale, Amazon says it is constantly flying and testing the technology. As part of a drive to bring deliveries to Prime members faster, the company has focused on drone delivery. Amazon has also spent billions of dollars in the transition from two-day to one-day delivery since last year. In 2013, Amazon started testing delivery drones with the aim of having packages delivered to customers’ doorsteps in 30 minutes or less. The business filed a petition with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in August 2019 to get those plans approved. Amazon stated in its petition that deliveries would take place in low-density areas and that shipments would weigh no more than 5 pounds. At the 2019 MARS conference, the company unveiled a new electric delivery drone capable of transporting packages under 5 pounds to consumers in under half an hour and flying up to 15 miles.

3. Amazon Scout Delivery Bots

4. Autonomous Robots by Starship Technologies

5. Space Logistics

Benefits of Robot Deliveries

Challenges

  • Disruptions: Sidewalk robots may face disturbances in their routines as well, such as curious bystanders blocking their way and robbers attempting to snare a package en route. The latter issue could be solved by using remote-controllable package locking mechanisms. However, that could put the robot at risk as people may try to damage the locks.
  • Pranks and Malevolent Behavior: After children covered their cameras and sensors with snow, a delivery robot became stranded. Another case involved a simple humanoid robot that moved through Canada and Europe before being decapitated in Philadelphia, where it began its journey in the United States.
  • Approval from Authorities: Additional challenges include perfecting the program that helps delivery robots avoid both still and moving objects, as well as communicating with city officials concerned about public safety

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