More on Transportation as a System, prompted by an article in Ars Technica.
Autonomous vehicles for local delivery don’t need drivers; they can be smaller and lighter, slower, and at least as safe as US postal trucks. The key to making this possible is to incent customers to collect their deliveries – from the vehicle as it arrives, or from the nearest locker or pick-up point which can be reached by walking, perhaps with a small luggage trolley. In the US ‘rural’ post service puts letters in letter boxes which are on the street, not through your front door – but FedEx, UPS, and USPS leave packages on the doorstep.
Scheduling the delivery vehicle to arrive just when it’s convenient for the person collecting the packages to come down to the street from their multi-story building is the same kind of problem as arranging a Lyft pickup.
Solving this ‘last 50 feet’ issue of package delivery by getting the customer to fetch their packages for everything under certain sizes and weights will be much cheaper than trying to build robots to do the same job, and does not require an outside person or company to have access to the home (Amazon Key).
Amazon and Alibaba are likely to dominate global logistics; they have detailed knowledge about what their customers buy and can make supply chain predictions in order to get goods started on their journey prior to receiving specific orders. They are in a position to benefit hugely from building the overall integration of the systems for transporting goods.
Nuro self driving goods vehicle https://nuro.ai/product