Autonomous Delivery Vehicles revamping global logistics for last-mile delivery

autonomous delivery vehicles

What are autonomous delivery vehicles?

  • A self-driving car, also called an autonomous vehicle is the one that has the capability to sense the environment and drive without any human intervention. 
  • Driverless cars make use of software algorithms and a completely automated driving system. 
  • This enables the vehicle to manage external conditions similar to a human being.
  • An autonomous delivery vehicle refers to a self-driving vehicle that’s capable of delivering goods from retailers on its own without human mediation.


Increasing demand for autonomous delivery vehicles

The demand for autonomous delivery vehicles (ADVs) is growing by leaps and bounds considering the boom in the e-commerce sector. This demand will continue to rise even further in the next decade. It is expected that the market for autonomous delivery vehicles is going to rise at a CAGR of 11 percent from 2019 to reach the 200 billion USD mark in 2029. Autonomous delivery vehicles would facilitate contactless delivery which is the present trend due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to remain so in the future too.

The main reasons for the surge in demand for automated vehicles are:

  • Shorter expected delivery times by customers
  • A rise in the number of e-commerce customers
  • Even increasing technological advancements
  • Increase in population in cities (urbanization)
  • Increase in the category of products sold by e-commerce companies.


Types of autonomous vehicles for delivery

Sidewalk vehicles

  • These are slow vehicles specifically crafted to travel at a speed of 4-6 km per hour.
  • A low speed offers improved safety and gives a chance to the operators to control the vehicle in case of an emergency.

On-road delivery vans (Autonomous delivery vans)

  • These run on electric power and are specifically built for on-road delivery.
  • Their software algorithms and sensor system resemble those of autonomous cars.

Autonomous trucks

  • The trucking world is facing several challenges such as shortage of drivers, delayed delivery, and productivity issues.
  • The use of autonomous trucks can help in overcoming the challenges of the truck industry.


Benefits of autonomous Delivery vehicles

  • Improved fuel economy due to lower fuel consumption
  • Reduced travel time and increase in productivity
  • Reduction in number of accidents and traffic deaths
  • Better transport interconnectivity
  • Lower cost and maintenance
  • Less pollution and emissions
  • Increased lane capacity
  • Reduced traffic congestion of the roads
  • Better last-mile services
  • Reduced transportation costs


Mobileye and Udelv – All Set to Build Autonomous Vehicles for Delivery

Mobileye, Intel’s Israeli subsidiary has signed a deal with a start-up named Udelv to build a fleet of autonomous vehicles named ‘Transporters’. Udelv is a silicon-valley venture-backed company.

The commercial operations of the ‘Transporter’ will begin in 2023. The companies plan to manufacture 35,000+ Mobileye driven Transporters by 2028.

The Mobileye drive system will consist of:

  • 13 cameras
  • 6 radars
  • 3 lidars (long-range)
  • 6 lidars (short-wave)

Mobileye’s EyeQ 5 processors will power the system.

The last-mile delivery in the supply chain management and transportation is extremely expensive. It accounts for nearly 53 percent of the overall cost of goods. Since more customers are switching to an online mode of buying, the last mile delivery volumes are expected to increase by 75-80 % by the year 2030. This means more requirements for delivery vehicles. Companies across the globe are struggling to keep pace with the orders due to a shortage of drivers. 

Customers of Udelv are expecting ‘Transporters’ to drastically improve the middle-mile and last-mile delivery services for everything ranging from medical supplies, auto parts, groceries, and baked products.

The first pre-order for 1000 transporters was placed by Donlen, one of the largest fleet management companies in America. Donlen is at the forefront of innovation and technology in fleet management. This pre-order is considered to be the largest till date for autonomous vehicles. 


Way Ahead

Several start-ups such as Eliport, Nuro, and Starship Technologies are working to improve the technology and add value propositions in the logistics sector. Companies are adopting RaaS– Robot as a Service model for better fleet management.  Autonomous delivery vehicles are the future of transportation that would transform the logistics market and facilitate last-mile delivery across various industries. If this whole concept raised your curiosity level, explore our virtual driverless car course that would help you find more about the technology behind and working mechanism.