The company behind Walmart’s pickup towers has developed a self-driving car that could upend the last-mile delivery industry.
The car, called Lotte, is a robotic courier. It autonomously transports packages to homes and businesses and uses a robotic arm to place the packages in a pickup locker. Eventually, it will be able to deliver packages to mailboxes and pickup towers as well.
The Lotte, designed by Estonia-based technology firm Cleveron, is among the only self-driving delivery vehicles that can complete deliveries without any human intervention.
“Since the robot courier will replace human labor, which makes the last mile delivery cheaper,” said Cleveron CEO Arno Kutt. “This in turn helps e-commerce grow even more — it will be less expensive (we eliminate labor costs) and extremely convenient (the parcels are waiting for you safely in your own parcel locker).”
A 2016 McKinsey study estimated that autonomous vehicles, including drones, would account for about 80% of all consumer parcel deliveries during the next 10 years.
And according to a new study from the consulting firm KPMG, approximately one million autonomous delivery robots could be on the streets by 2040.
Autonomous delivery could be a boon for retailers, which have seen shipping costs balloon in recent years. Amazon, for example, saw its shipping costs double between 2015 and 2017 to $21.7 billion.
Ford and Walmart recently partnered to begin testing the delivery of goods using autonomous vehicles in Florida.
Kroger has also been testing the delivery of groceries in driverless cars.
Leave a Reply