The future of ecommerce last-mile delivery is starting to look more like a version of the Terminator movie. Only in this version, the drones and droids are battling each other for supremacy; humans aren’t hunted down, but they receive deliveries.
Allan Martinson, the chief operating officer of Starship Technologies, is backing droids for last-mile delivery, with a little robot delivery design. Amazon, Walmart and Google have all put their money behind drones. However, Google is hedging their bets with a driverless truck version.
Droids have some limitations, such as a higher price tag. However, they are cheaper to build than drones or large self-driving vehicles, and have lower running costs. Droids can also travel on sidewalks or pavements and are more likely to receive regulatory approval than flying drones. Droids are equipped with a “sense and avoid” technology, move at a slower speed and are less accident-prone. Starship is currently testing droids in Europe and the United States.
Droids are seen as a potential viable option in densely populated cities. However, drones still “rule the skies” in rural areas. In Africa, drones are increasingly seen as a viable option for delivering of essential medicine, to combat the tsetse flies (Ethiopia) or to fight Rhino poaching (South Africa) in rural areas. Inventors familiar with African roads and pavements (if any in some Africa cities), maybe also want to consider an all-terrain droid (ATD).