Usage of Drones and Delivery Robots in the Last Mile


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According to Forbes, the Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to “the combination of cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things, and the Internet of Systems.” This translates to how technology will, in due time, either merge or take over human systems, or in this case, transport service providers. Transport service providers’ main aim is to provide efficiency, drive profit margins, service and most importantly, reduce overall costs. With the use of technology, all of the aforementioned, and more, can be done. With regards to the Internet of Things, last mile delivery technology is always looking to expand to greater heights, such as drones and driverless vehicles. Albeit not largely implemented yet, fully automated technology, such as Amazon Prime Air, is bound to take over the industry of last mile delivery.

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Usage of Drones in the Last Mile (David)

As aforementioned, last mile delivery will soon be dominated by automated technology, such as drones. In the United Kingdom (UK), Drone Safe Register (DSR) has already implemented this technology. Packages that are within the weight limit of 20 kilograms and are 48 by 48 by 30 centimetres in size can be delivered within one day. Packages are also tracked easily as each drone has a highly accurate GPS attached to it. Drones are also equipped with sensors and cameras, alongside flying in quiet places and unreachable altitudes.

Some inefficiencies in the last mile, as a result of transport service providers are congestion, fuel costs (including fuel price volatility), gross vehicle weight, vehicle capacity and operating and capital costs. Problems directly affecting consumers include, pilferage, on-demand delivery and the customer not being at home entirely. Briefly explaining the advantages of drone usage on each problem. Drones do not run on fuel, and do single deliveries at customers’ specified timing. Drones operate at unreachable heights, hence pilferage is not an issue and deliveries are made within one day, country wide. This thus shows how effective last mile delivery can be improved with the use of technology. With regards to cost efficiency, it currently takes 25 Great Britain Pounds to make one delivery with drones in the DSR, approximately half of the Royal Mail, which is much more efficient. Congestion is currently responsible for over 1.5 million hours of truck delay, at a loss of $30 per hour, resulting in at least $45 million in losses.

Usage of delivery robots in the Last Mile (Izzat)

Similar to drones, delivery robots are remotely monitored by and operator and are unarmed. These robots are designed to travel on pedestrian and lanes at low speeds about 4 miles per hour. These robots are usually targeted for relatively uncrowded suburban areas, gated communities and affluent campuses. Robots could also be used by retail stores or restaurants to deliver goods ordered online to nearby customers. Alternatively, customers could be the ones to initiate the delivery process, either through a third party that offers robot delivery services or by themselves, if in the future individuals owned robots for personal use. Since the range of delivery robots is relatively small for the foreseeable future, their use for direct delivery will be more limited than drones.

Its effectiveness isn’t an uncertainty as delivery robots utilize GPS, sensors, and cameras for route, halting for an impediment or walker in its way. A few models can go up and down curbs and small stairs. While a human administrator would track a delivery robot, it would drive self-rulingly 99 percent of the time in a precisely mapped nearby area. 51 Robots commonly have mouthpieces for two-way correspondence. If faced with a threat, , the human administrator at a control centre could drive the criminal away as the speaker goes off and calls the police.

This innovation is for sure cost efficient as a key advantage of the invention of delivery robots is their low cost. Since delivery robots are territorial, the innovation required to screen and operate them can be less advanced than drones, accordingly thus reducing costs. Starship which is an organization made by the establishing architects of Skype, utilizes robots that costs under $2,000.

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