The Future of Last-Mile Delivery: Unmanned Delivery Solutions in 2023

BIS Research
6 min readMar 23, 2023
Unmanned Delivery Solutions

Last mile delivery refers to the final step in the process of delivering goods to customers, from the distribution center or warehouse to the customer’s doorstep.

It is considered to be the most challenging and costly aspect of the delivery process as it has a direct impact on the customer’s experience.

With the rise of e-commerce and the growing demand for fast and convenient delivery options, last-mile delivery has become a critical component of the logistics industry.

As customers become more accustomed to receiving their purchases quickly, businesses are under pressure to improve their delivery times and meet customer expectations.

For this reason, businesses are increasingly turning to technology to improve the efficiency and reliability of last-mile delivery operations, which includes the use of drones, autonomous vehicles, outdoor robots and other innovative technologies to make deliveries.

This article will explore the emerging trends and technologies impacting last-mile delivery and modifying customer experience.

The Rise of Q-Commerce and its Impact on Last-Mile Delivery Robots

Q-commerce, also known as quick-commerce or flash commerce, is a new trend in e-commerce that focuses on delivering products to customers as quickly as possible.

This trend is driven by the growing demand for fast and convenient delivery options, as well as the increasing popularity of same-day and next-day delivery services.

The growth of Q-commerce is having a significant impact on the last-mile delivery robots’ industry. With the need for faster and more efficient delivery, businesses are turning to autonomous robots to meet the demands of their customers.

Last-mile delivery robots, such as drones and ground-based robots, are capable of making deliveries quickly and efficiently, without the need for human drivers or delivery personnel.

Q-commerce is also driving the development of new technologies for last-mile delivery robots, such as advanced navigation systems and real-time monitoring capabilities.

Several companies are already incorporating last-mile delivery robots into their Q-commerce operations, such as Amazon, Dominos, and Walmart.

These companies employ drones, ground-based robots, and other autonomous delivery systems to meet the growing demand for fast and convenient delivery options.

According to the report by BIS research, the global last-mile delivery robot market was valued at $18.1 million in 2021, and it is estimated to reach $36.2 million by 2032 at a CAGR of 6.22% during the forecast period 2022–2032.

Global Last-Mile Delivery Robot Market

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Outdoor Robots: How do they Work

As e-commerce continues to grow, so does the demand for efficient and reliable last-mile delivery solutions.

One technology that has emerged as a potential game-changer in this arena is outdoor robots for last-mile delivery.

These autonomous robots are capable of navigating sidewalks, roads, and other outdoor environments to deliver packages directly to customers’ doorsteps.

One of the key benefits of using robots for last-mile delivery is their ability to operate continuously without restraints, helping in hassle-free delivery to customers at any time, without the need for human drivers or delivery personnel.

Outdoor robots for last-mile delivery are also equipped with advanced navigation technology, such as GPS, LIDAR, and cameras, which allows them to navigate and avoid obstacles and pedestrians, which reduces the chances of delays or missed deliveries.

This can make the outdoor robots a safer alternative to human drivers, who can get distracted or make mistakes on the road.

Robots can make multiple deliveries in a single trip, reducing the need for multiple human drivers and vehicles, which reduces costs and improve efficiency for businesses.

Furthermore, Outdoor robots can be controlled remotely, allowing businesses to monitor and manage their deliveries in real-time.

Several companies have already begun incorporating outdoor robots for last-mile delivery in their operations, such as Starship Technologies, Nuro, and Marble.

These companies have developed robots that are capable of carrying packages weighing up to several hundred pounds, making them suitable for a wide range of delivery needs.

Legged Robots: The Next Frontier in Last-Mile Delivery Efficiency and Reliability

Legged robots, also known as bipedal or quadrupedal robots, are a new technology that is being developed for last-mile delivery operations.

These robots are designed to walk on two or four legs, similar to a human or animal, and have the ability to traverse different types of terrain, including stairs, hills, and uneven surfaces, which can be difficult for traditional wheeled robots.

This allows them to reach areas that were previously inaccessible for delivery, such as high-rise buildings, parks, or remote locations.

Several companies are currently developing legged robots for last-mile delivery operations.

· For instance, Boston Dynamics, which has created a quadrupedal robot called Spot that is capable of carrying packages weighing up to 14 kg.

Spot is designed to navigate both indoor and outdoor environments and can be controlled remotely or operate autonomously.

· Another example is Agility Robotics, which has developed a bipedal robot called Digit that can walk on two legs and is capable of carrying packages weighing up to 11 kg.

Digit is designed to navigate through suburban and urban environments and can be controlled remotely or operate autonomously.

· Other companies such as ANYbotics, Ghost Robotics, and Sarcos Robotics are developing legged robots capable of carrying packages weighing up to several hundred pounds, making them suitable for a wide range of delivery needs.

Industry Update: Ottonomy.IO launches autonomous delivery robot

Created by Ottonomy.IO, the Ottobot Yeti, a new autonomous delivery robot that is capable of making completely unattended deliveries.

The robot set to revolutionize last-mile delivery, is being showcased at the NRF 2023 retail show in New York and is designed for use in the retail, eCommerce, and logistics industry.

Ottonomy.IO has developed a robot-as-a-service model to provide efficient and scalable delivery solutions for businesses, and the Ottobot Yeti is the latest generation of their robots, featuring an automated sliding delivery hatch for touch-free deliveries.

Ritukar Vijay, the CEO of Ottonomy.IO states that this new design will improve accessibility and efficiency for robotic deliveries and open the door for e-commerce returns.

The four-drive wheel and four-steering wheel design enables a zero-radius turn and crab movement, allowing the robot to navigate tight and crowded spaces with ease. This makes it the only autonomous robot capable of making multiple deliveries in a single trip.

Moreover, Mr. Vijay added, “Over a short period of time we were able to convert feedback from multiple pilots to develop an enhanced model of the Ottobot which will facilitate improved accessibility and efficiency for robotic deliveries.”

In a world where fast and efficient delivery is becoming increasingly important, the Ottobot Yeti is set to pave the way for next-generation supply chain delivery logistics.

Conclusion

Last-mile delivery is a critical aspect of the logistics industry that is impacting the world, with the growing demand for fast and convenient delivery options, businesses are turning to robotics to improve their efficiency.

With the advantages of increased efficiency, safety, and cost savings, more companies are turning to autonomous robots such as outdoor and legged robots for unattended last-mile delivery solutions.

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