31 January 2018
Over the next few years the way we receive deliveries of goods bought online will change dramatically. Currently we rely on a man, or indeed woman, in their van to deliver our purchases but the method of delivery is likely to change as companies invest in greener, cheaper and faster modes of delivery of goods. Amazon already has a program, currently being tested, called Amazon Air which aims to deliver packages to customers using drones. They aim to deliver small to medium size packages in urban areas within half an hour of the order being put through. Amazon is working hard to get this service online and though they face many challenges including safety and local airspace regulations they clearly believe in this technology as they have spent millions on R&D. Though this method of delivery has its limitations (the weight and size of packages will determine whether this is a viable delivery method) it can work hand in hand with traditional forms of delivery offering a faster, cheaper and cleaner option for companies to get their products to their customers.
Amazon have taken to the air but a small, innovative US company have taken to the pavements. Marble, a company founded by three University friends is already making deliveries in San Francisco using automated delivery robots. These robots use radars and cameras to navigate their way around the city, avoiding pedestrians and other obstacles to make local deliveries of goods such as food orders, medicines etc. Whether people are ready to share an already crowded pavement space with autonomous robots remains to be seen but this is just another push towards faster, cheaper and hopefully greener method of delivering goods to customers locally.
Even though the man and his van will, for the most of us, be the only viable form of delivery for the near future, with the advance of drone and robotic technology it will only be a matter of time before major cities will see a mix of these new technologies as delivery solutions. The prospect of having an item delivered to your door or workplace within half an hour of purchase will only go to increase internet sales and put further pressure on the traditional shops on the high street. However, food delivery outlets are likely to benefit greatly if and when these technologies are rolled out allowing them to deliver meals faster and cheaper.
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