Here’s an idea for trailer and truck body builders planning to capitalize on the opportunities offered by e-commerce and the evolving supply chain: Motherships to manage delivery robots.
Apparently, several companies are seeking permission to test small, autonomous home-delivery vehicles in Silicon Valley. But these aren’t Amazon’s flying drones. Instead, they’re what you'd get if R2D2 from Star Wars and your wheeled ice chest had a baby.
The Mercury News has more details about the emerging technology. The video below features one of the Silicon Valley startups hoping to move into the space.
While these are designed for hyper-local errands and wouldn’t be direct competitors for vans, trucks and trailers, it might be worthwhile to consider adding some rolling robot space (and charging stations) to plans for your next-gen delivery vehicles. Imagine: Instead of the driver getting out to deliver packages, at each stop he or she rolls out a robot, then heads to the next delivery. The driver, or a second recovery vehicle, then picks up the robots on the return trip.
Of course, there are a number of issues to be sorted out. In the video below, a BuzzFeed News reporter wonders what would happen if someone wanted to steal a delivery (and also how human local delivery workers feel about the technology).
Editor’s Note: TGIV, or Thank Goodness It’s Video, is a semi-regular Friday feature here on TBB highlighting clips that might or might not have something to do with our industry. At worst, it’s meant to be a fun welcome to the weekend. At best, it will introduce the TBB audience to a new idea or concept, however oblique, that’s worth a second look.