The study results suggest that autonomous vehicles will be the future model for delivery services TOU

The study results suggest that autonomous vehicles will be the future model for delivery services


The study results suggest that autonomous vehicles will be the future model for delivery services

Automated delivery vehicles are parked on the streets of Beijing, China. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The concept of self-driving vehicles is currently met with surprise and caution in equivalent parts. But a new study reveals how the pros and cons of a business strategy outweigh the risks.

An article entitled “Impact of Last Mile Distribution of Autonomous Vehicle Assistance from Urban to Rural Organizations”, this technology reduces the completion time of delivery tours and provides a more cost-effective business model. It will appear Transportation Science.

“The starting point of this study is the idea of ​​the U.S. Postal Service announcing the use of autonomous vehicles on rural routes,” said Sarah Reid, assistant professor of business analysis at the University of Kansas.

“We have found that autonomous vehicles are cheaper in all customer geographical areas, but can actually find greater benefits in urban environments, especially since parking is a challenge and customers are closer. Walking in urban environments increases customer service. More favorable than rural environments. ”

FedEx and Volkswagen have already used autonomous vehicles in countries such as China and Germany. Domino’s Pizza and 7-Eleven are now experimenting with bringing food and ingredients to US customers. USPS aims to roll out this service on 28,000 rural routes by 2025. What once sounded like the future of the “Jetsons” -epology is now around the corner.

Reid, who co-authored with Ann Melissa Campbell and Barrett Thomas of the University of Iowa, said the technology should not be confused with flying drones.

“Our autonomous vehicle is a ground vehicle, which can drive itself,” he said. “The driver can go from one place to another without need.”

In this particular study, the autonomous vehicle assists in delivery to the delivery person.

“The vehicle drops the delivery person in one place. They serve customers by delivering the packages on foot, and then the vehicle takes them to another location. So what does that do to the delivery driver? This eliminates the need to find parking. You leave a vehicle alone, as well as delivery. It also eliminates the need to return to the doer’s vehicle, “said Reid.

United Parcel Service used a similar approach during the Baltimore vacation, for example, loading extra delivery person into its trucks. Reed’s proposed model is considered to improve the technology of the vehicle. But which approach ultimately saves more money? On the one hand, there is the additional cost of an extra driver; On the other hand, there is an additional cost of autonomous technology.

“Considering the cost of labor and increased productivity, we show that the autonomous vehicle model is much less expensive than putting more people in a traditional vehicle,” he said.

Currently, Reid explained, this technology is very expensive. Thus the “per hour” delivery model is more expensive.

“But these big reductions in the delivery tour are more than just the increased cost,” he said. “You should also think about the other benefits of introducing autonomous vehicles on the road. They may drive more, but they will not park, so they free up space for others to park and go downtown businesses.”

Overall, his report reveals dramatic savings in both time and money. In urban environments, future savings can be as high as 50%.

The other side of this equation is the potential number of human employment.

“One fear is that autonomous vehicles are going to rob the delivery person of their share,” he said. “From the feature of a fully autonomous vehicle – that is, we have removed that driving job – our article shows that having a delivery driver is really very advantageous in both productivity and cost-effectiveness.”

Reid, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, is now completing his first year at KU. His expertise is in transportation logistics. This autonomous vehicle study is part of his review article.

She said, “Most of my work is about ‘Last Mile Delivery’ – if you order a package from Amazon it may go to different locations until it arrives, and the last mile is the previous destination. To your address. I focus on the challenges in that area.”

The “future shock” aspect of his autonomy is not lost on Reid.

“Initially, I thought it was a ‘new society’ and would reflect that kind of thing,” he said. “But since I first started doing this, some things have already been implemented – on the autonomous vehicle side is not entirely necessary, but on college campuses if you think too much, there are places where robots feed students. Imagine that it’s weird to see a robot go by, but you can get used to it . ”

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                                        Amazon is applying for a patent for a secondary delivery vehicle to carry luggage from truck to doorstep.
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                                                                                            <strong>More info:</strong>
                                            Sarah Reid et al., Impact of Autonomous Vehicle, Last Mile Delivery from Urban to Rural Organizations, <i>Transportation Science</i> (2022)  <a data-doi="1" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">DOI: 10.1287 / trsc.2022.1142</a>


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