While self-driving trucks might still be a technology for the far future, delivery robots are the technology of the present. One company, Starship Technologies, has developed robots that specialise in local delivery that might just revolutionise the logistics industry. The intention is that within urban areas, people can order products online from local shops and businesses and a small robot on wheels will deliver it to them. This can also be used by shoppers that don’t want to carry their purchases, as they can use these robots to carry their bags home while they keep their hands free.
Much like the drone technology that is still being experimented with, these intelligent robots can make product delivery easier for a lot of people. For individuals with mobility issues in particular, these robots could improve their quality of life almost tenfold. People can have products that they have ordered online delivered to them far sooner than they would with a standard delivery service. If people have trouble carrying their shopping home the robot could deliver their purchases right to their door. The robots could potentially offer benefits to everyone involved, including local businesses that have been affected by online shopping services like Amazon.
Starship’s delivery robots are possibly the smartest local delivery solution to date. They can cleverly navigate environments and don’t require anyone controlling them. These robots are energy efficient, money saving, and provide a service like no other. So far Starship’s robots have been purchased by at least one company: the delivery service DoorDash, who plan to deliver food to local customers using these robots. However, the question still remains as to whether or not this technology will become regularly used in the logistics industry.
Theft is one of the most obvious issues concerning the widespread usage of this technology. Unlike drones, which are relatively discreet and keep out of the way, these delivery robots are big, conspicuous and occupy a fair amount of space on public walkways. It’s hard for people not to notice these robots, which makes them an obvious target for thieves. While there are some security measures in place – such as locks and a tracker – the robots weigh no more than 40lbs, which means they can be very easily picked up and carried away, and the outer body seems to mostly be made of plastic that can be easily broken open. Companies run the risk of losing significant profits as a result of recurring theft if they use these robots for regular deliveries as well as lose profits from repairs and replacements should the robots be damaged or destroyed.
The success of these robots also has another condition, and that is the area in which they are implemented. In urban areas with lots of pavement space and a good integration of residential and commercial properties, these robots would possibly be highly successful. Their destinations would be close by, they would have few obstacles to work around during their journey, and they wouldn’t cause any obstructions for other people navigating the area. However, in any other environment these robots would not be effective logistics solutions. They might occupy the majority of pavement space and obstruct pedestrians, or they might otherwise need to use the roads, which would obstruct motorists and cyclists. The benefit of receiving immediate delivery would also not apply if residential areas are a distance away from shopping opportunities. In some instances, these robots would be a far slower alternative and with a company purchasing only a limited number of robots, they run the risk of not having enough to meet demand when it takes a long amount of time for robots to return from deliveries.
While this technology is still in its early stages, it’s difficult to say whether or not it will become a widespread logistics solution. However, it is demonstrating a brand new kind of innovation that is making its way into the industry that could potentially improve the quality of services for both customers and business owners. Until these robots are designed to travel across oceans, you can rely on Barrington Freight to provide worldwide freight services, so call us today for effective logistics solutions around the globe.