If you pay attention to media headlines, you might think that airborne drones, autonomous, self-driving vehicles or crowd-sourced private vehicle owners will be delivering your online purchases to your doorstep within the next few months. Practically daily there are announcements of new developments and investments in these technologies and services from all segments of the market.
- Retailers Amazon and Walmart have been experimenting with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and crowd-sourced deliveries.
- Automotive manufacturer Daimler AG is investing $500-plus million to evolve its Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans into smart, networked vehicles equipped with flying drones and self-driving robots that sort and deliver packages.
- Parcel carrier UPS and drone-maker CyPhy Works are testing drones as a means to make commercial deliveries of emergency supplies to hard-to-reach locations possible in urgent situations where other transportation modes are not available.
By Brian Reaves, MHI Executive Vice President