Source: Adapted from Touami, S. (2020). Les robots de livraison en ville, une solution à venir ? Université Gustave Eiffel, chaire Logistics City.
Examples of the sidewalk robot model (1) include the collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and Starship and between Ford and Agility Robotics. A notable feature of Agility Robotics’ robot Digit is its ability to climb stairs.
Examples of the van robot model (2) include Postmates’ Serve robot in the United States and ZMP’s delivery robot DeliRo in Japan.
The KiwiCampus project is an example of the robot cargo bike model (4) delivering prepared meals from local restaurants to students at the UC Berkeley campus. Initially, Kiwi Campus used sidewalk robots only but introduced cargobikes later on to increase efficiency.
UPS’s partnership with self-driving technology company Waymo stands as an example of the warehouse-road robot model (5). Waymo’s minivans travel between UPS store locations and sorting facilities. Nuro’s collaboration with Kroger and Domino’s to deliver groceries, and prepared meals in Houston exemplifies the store-robot model (6).
A collaboration between Mercedes-Benz, drone developer Matternet, and Swiss e-marketplace SIROOP applied the van drone model (7) in Zurich. In this case, vans are parked on predefined points in the urban area, to which local businesses send drones loaded with online orders. After the arrival of all orders, van drivers carry out the deliveries, while drones return to the businesses.
Israeli drone designer Flytrex and Icelandic e-retailer AHA applied the drone model (8) to carry out prepared meal deliveries in Reykjavik. Avoiding the complicated and time-consuming urban travel, Flytrex collaborates with local restaurants so consumers can receive their orders directly.
Further, new autonomous delivery concepts are being explored. Two examples include Robomart, an autonomous mobile grocery store, and intelligent cabinets specifically developed for the autonomous loading and offloading of shipments by drones.