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Challenges Remain, but Autonomous Delivery Vehicles Likely to Come Before Driverless Cars

January 08, 2019 / SCDigest Editorial Staff

The march towards autonomous vehicles – from ocean container ships to farm equipment - continues on. But, a new report from the Wall Street Journal says we are far more likely to see robot delivery vehicles than we are autonomous passenger cars any time soon. "There are a number of reasons things are trending this way, including laws, physics, the nature of existing infrastructure, and the size of the addressable markets,” writes Christopher Mims. "But the chief reason, argue academics, analysts and the heads of autonomous-delivery startups, is safety. Protecting human passengers while avoiding accidents with other vehicles is much higher stakes than protecting a pint of ice cream or those headphones you just ordered.” However, there are many challenges even for e-commerce deliveries, a market being targeted by companies such as Starship Technologies, which has developed a delivery vehicle that looks more like a mobile robot on wheels than a van.