Using autonomous vehicles, sidewalk robots, indoor delivery robots, and drones for short-run delivery in urban areas
Delivering the Goods in Urban Areas
Short-run delivery in congested settings had established a small foothold before the pandemic. Autonomous cars play a role here, but so do sidewalk robots, indoor delivery bots, and even drones—which are coming. New federal regulations, set to take effect in March 2021, relax operating restrictions in ways that will make it easier to use drones for deliveries.
The pandemic turbocharged demand: the shutdowns in spring 2020 had everyone asking for the lower-risk, hands-free deliveries that autonomy can provide, spurring pilot projects in hospitals, hotels, and campuses. That demand will likely stick around in a post-pandemic world. Nuro and Starship, leading AV manufacturers, have moved aggressively to test and market these solutions with restaurants, supermarkets, pharmacies, online retailers, and food services like Postmates. Consultants McKinsey & Co. value the last-mile delivery market at US$86 billion—and project strong growth.
By Katie Clotheir
AV Product Developer