With all this easy access to goods and services that technology affords us, let’s take a moment to discover how our purchases get to us. Amazon delivered a staggering 5 billion packages in 2017. Like how and where we shop is changing, so too is the way products are delivered. We are all familiar with UPS and FedEx, but with volume increasing and the acceptable amount of time we are willing to wait ever decreasing, technology is being implemented in new and innovative ways in response.
Amazon made its first drone delivery in 2017 in Palm Springs, California. (It was a bottle of sunscreen.) Although this service, known as Prime Air, has serious potential for reducing both delivery times and costs, it still has a few obstacles to get over before it becomes commonplace. Most of these challenges are of the legal variety, such as privacy concerns and airspace regulations. But Amazon isn’t the only company looking to implement this option. Companies such as Mercedes and Domino’s are also exploring this method, so the question is not if you’ll be getting air delivery of your pizza, but rather when.
Self-driving cars are revolutionizing delivery, and they aren’t science fiction. People in Arizona and California are now able to get same-day grocery delivery, no driver involved. In Miami, food delivery is being test-marketed. Companies like Google, Toyota, Ford, and GM all have a hand in developing the “autonomous vehicle” so expect to see this futuristic option being implemented in a city near you.
It isn’t just delivery that is going to be revolutionized by the self-driving vehicle; autonomous vehicles are also transforming shipping. Uber Freight is using self-driving trucks to carry beer across Colorado, and Embark, a startup company, is using autonomous driving to move Frigidaires in California. Considering that the largest expense in shipping by truck is the cost of the driver, expect to see a rapid shift toward driverless trucks, so much so that there are plans for the creation of dedicated lanes. These dedicated transport lanes for self-driving trucks working 24 hours a day could have a terrific impact on our traffic issues, especially around major metropolitan markets.