Will 2020 be the year for autonomous delivery?

Jon Lawson

At the start of a new year (and decade) it is always worth looking ahead to see what the year might bring. One of the biggest developments which is expected to happen soon is the introduction of autonomous delivery which will see the use of robotics to deliver parcels straight to your door. So, will 2020 be the year for autonomous delivery?

The rapid development of both drone delivery technology and autonomous vehicles means that soon people can expect to see unmanned home deliveries being made which can also increase the speed of deliveries (even within an hour), but there are hurdles which could mean that it will be sometimes before these become available delivery options.

Instead, parcel delivery by courier will remain the norm until these issues are overcome but this still can be fast, efficient, safe and affordable. Additionally, with an increase in consumer demands it means that courier services are having to improve to meet these demands so they will have to find ways to improve to stay competitive and for future survival in the industry. 

Amazon delivered its first package by drone back in 2016 with the first customer of Amazon Prime Air receiving the delivery within 13 minutes, but the crowded airways mean that widespread drone usage could cause a huge issue with air traffic. There are other issues to consider with drone deliveries, including parcel fraud and theft as a strong proof of delivery will be required. There are a few potential solutions to these problems being worked on, such as a special delivery mat.

There is progress being made though as Amazon continue to trial this service in the UK while waiting for clearance from the Government. With the Government trying to reduce environmental-impact, it seems like this could be an issue which is resolved in the near future but it is hard to say when at this point.

Are autonomous vehicles the future then?

Similarly, the technology is in place for autonomous vehicles but there are many logistical issues which are slowing down progress. Obviously, driverless cars are not on the road yet but it is expected that they will start to appear in the next few years but there are other potential options for delivery. This includes a self-driving, ground-based vehicle which travels at walking pace and can carry up to 40 pounds. 

There have been many incredible technological developments made within the last few years and it seems that the technology is in place or having the finishing touches completed on both drones and driverless vehicles/robots that will be able to deliver parcels straight to your door. There are still many logistical issues to overcome first so it is unlikely that 2020 will be the year for autonomous delivery but you can certainly expect this in the near future. 


Read more about the future of autonomy here.