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Last Mile Delivery Robots

How can Autonomous Last-Mile Delivery Robots Save Huge Shipment Costs?

25 November 2022

The term last-mile delivery refers to the movement of a product from the warehouse or manufacturing unit to the customer’s doorstep. Regardless of whether an ordered package originated from the local retail center or the main manufacturing unit, this last-mile is likely to be the most expensive part of a package’s journey. Sometimes it costs 50% of the total purchased goods. As a result, many companies are looking at autonomous last mile delivery technologies to reduce costs and enable faster deliveries. 

According to the last-mile delivery robot market report, the market for last-mile delivery robots was valued at $18.1 million in 2021, and it is estimated to reach $36.2 million by 2032, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.22% during the forecast period 2022-2032. 

1. What are Autonomous Last-Mile Delivery Robots?

Many established companies, as well as start-ups, are developing autonomous last-mile delivery robots of different shapes and payload capacities to solve the last-mile delivery challenges in a cost-effective and eco-friendly way.  The last-mile delivery robot market started gaining attention from 2016 onward following the prolific integration of robotics in heavy industries, healthcare, and hospitality sectors for indoor applications such as transporting goods from point A to point B in warehouses, factories, hospitals, and hotels, and assisting humans with their tasks. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the adoption of autonomous last-mile delivery robots witnessed significant demand for applications such as healthcare and pharmaceutical delivery, food and beverage delivery, and retail delivery.

2. What are Some Common Applications?

Some companies such as Agility Robotics, Inc., ANYbotics AG, and Unsupervised.AI are developing legged robots for last-mile delivery applications such as retail, postal, and parcel delivery. Autonomous-legged robots for last-mile deliveries are being designed with sophisticated locomotive capabilities to carry out efficient operations in cities and towns.  Besides the robot manufacturers, companies operating in the e-commerce and retail markets, such as Amazon.com, Inc., FedEx Corporation, and Yandex LLC, are also developing last-mile delivery robots by acquiring robotics start-ups and software companies to manage the financial challenges emerging from the expensive last-mile deliveries due to failed deliveries, traffic congestion, road accidents, and misplaced parcels.

3. Advantages of Autonomous Last Mile Delivery Robots

One main advantage of a last-mile delivery robot is that it can be incorporated by small and large e-commerce and retail companies alike and help increase the volume of deliveries. Multi-story buildings like hotels, hospitals, apartment buildings, business centers, and skyscrapers need door-to-door delivery for mail, packages, medical supplies, food, and business correspondence.  Moreover, the growing number of online shopping and food delivery apps has increased the demand for faster, safer, and on-time delivery requirements. The growing q-commerce businesses and the COVID-19 pandemic period further altered customer behavior, and the demand for instant home delivery of groceries, personal care, and healthcare products witnessed significant growth.

4. How do Autonomous Last-Mile Delivery Robots Work?

Technologies such as light detection and ranging (LiDAR) thermal sensors, stereo high definition (HD) cameras, global positioning systems (GPS), and ultrasound sensors are commonly used in the navigation of last-mile delivery robots.  Currently, the last-mile delivery robot market is focusing on developing efficient robots that can be operated on city roads, sidewalks, and curbs without disrupting the usual traffic and public.  Although sidewalk robots, drones, and autonomous delivery vans are not fully autonomous yet, they still manage to contribute to package deliveries, certainly reducing the shipment cost for each vendor.  The last-mile delivery robot manufacturers are also focused on developing eco-friendly and long-endurance robots capable of making multiple delivery trips in a day for applications such as healthcare and pharmaceuticals, retail, food and beverage, and postal and parcel delivery.