- FedEx is exploring a variety of autonomous vehicle and robotics options for deliveries in its quest to compete with Amazon and Uber, MIT Technology Review reported last week.
- The delivery giant is teaming with Peloton Technology, creator of semi-autonomously joined trucks, and with Daimler and Volvo for completely autonomous trucking.
- However, the company is proceeding with caution as its shareholders have an expectation for profitability and financial stability, unlike those of the pioneering Amazon, which accept greater risk.
Outside of tightly packed urban areas where last-mile challenges have largely been solved, logistics specialists continue to struggle with delivery issues that can't be made by drone or quick turnaround contractor/driver.
FedEx continues to strategize toward possible alternative delivery methods, but the reality of how to achieve success, in accuracy and in speed remains unclear. An autonomous vehicle equipped with a robot can certainly visit a mailbox, but how is it programmed to deal with road conditions, confusing addresses, driveways, and the sorting of the numerous packages needed to make the trip worthwhile? Outside of a city, of what use will small-scale autonomy be?
Innovation can address the above conditions. The question is, what kind of timeline is needed? Despite all the ballyhoo about drones and robots, it's likely to take be a while before this delivery is made.