I was just reading Route4Me’s latest blog regarding self driving delivery vehicles in Japan. Last week it was DHL’s plans for self driving delivery vehicles… so I have one question…
Is there a conveyer inside that presents the correct package like a soda vending machine or like Benefit Cosmetics ? DHL’s vision seems to include a little robot – can he climb stairs? What about the elderly or those who can’t reach the vehicle due to some other limitation? What about medication?
Self driving taxis? Yes, I can see that, but door to door deliveries? As commented before, automated service of package delivery seems a far stretch. Look at individual couriers who go out of their way to deliver packages every day – is that replaceable at this moment in time? The courier who understands he has to wait for the receiving department to get back form lunch (in 5 minutes) to get the proof of delivery signature or can read the note informing him to go to the side door. Little human interventions every day, are these facts replaceable?
While I do not for a single minute feel the courier industry is going to remain the same with technological advances compounding daily, I do believe that there will always be the need for human contact for a good percentage of those presently made by the courier industry.
Now the challenge for our industry is to refine that door to door process so we can stay relevant while the trials and tribulations of self-driven vehicles – by land or air – figure out their limitations and for the public to determine how much service is acceptable and how valuable human service is. I do believe in the end the courier industry will remain relevant. We need to be sure our service offers a better option.
How can we change the world while those technology think tanks think of ways to save a dollar and replace us. We also need to embrace change and turn it into something that we can also own.