Here at Caledonian Couriers, we like to keep up with the delivery news. From unusual deliveries to hi-tech drone couriers, there’s always something surprising going on in the small, but certainly growing, world of parcel delivery.
Market Intelligence Agency Mentel recently posted that the number of parcels delivered per year has increased by 65% since 2012. Online shopping has become the new normal, and same-day delivery is available in many parts of the UK.
As the demand grows, it’s certain that tech will come into play when it comes to relieving the pressure on the industry. Check out our list of 7 ways that tech will change the future of delivery.
1- Green Vehicles for Delivery
Following the announcement that Britain will outlaw all diesel and petrol vehicle sales by 2040, the delivery sector needs to be organised if it’s going to be ready to shine. Delivery vehicles face unique challenges not seen in typical driving behaviour, such as regular stop/start to drop off parcels, and heavier weights of stacked up parcels. The race is on to create the ultimate green machine perfect for parcel delivery in both busy urban spaces and rural roads.
We love the look of this smart prototype built at the University of Warwick. Mean, lean delivery machine indeed! Read more about it here.
2- Drone Delivery – but first, weather forecasting
Drone delivery still seems futuristic, and there are some issues which will need to be addressed when (if) it becomes widespread for deliveries, such as the displacement of jobs for, well, actual humans.
However, before we can cross that bridge, tech needs to figure out not only how to fly and control large parcels on the wing, but also how to predict the weather far more accurately.
This is the challenge explored in this article by Bloomberg, and we think they’re bang on, especially in Scotland and other countries with changeable weather. Imagine if we get another Hurricane Bawbag??
Drone delivery is definitely going to feature in the future, but we think we’ve got a bit of time before it becomes widespread and we need to become drone pilots!
3- Smart Lockers get Smarter
Smart Lockers are a win-win for everyone. The customer can pick up their parcel from a convenient location at a convenient time, and it won’t get lost at a neighbour’s or taken to a sorting office miles away.
The seller won’t waste time and money delivering to a home where there is no one to receive it, and couriers don’t have any more delivery horror stories – we’re looking at you, that person who tried to deliver a parcel into a toilet!
Amazon have lockers in your local supermarkets, and last year John Lewis successfully rolled out lockers instore for customers to pick up their click and collect goods without a queue. As click and collect sales boom, the process will become more streamlined.
4- On yer bike!
The end of last year saw publication of the mammoth McKinsey report, The Future of the Last Mile, on the current and predicted state of the delivery industry – and in amongst all the robot tech, was the good, old bicycle.
Two wheels are better than four when it comes to whipping through busy traffic, and although bicycles are hardly high-tech, they are likely to be able to hold their own in a world of drones and robotic delivery, at least as far as instant delivery, such as food, is concerned.
Perhaps we’ll get even lighter models that fold up into backpacks, or with integrated sat nav? Electric bikes to support couriers in hilly cities? Who knows!
5- The Amazon Go Model
Now for something really cool. What if you never had to wait in line to pay for food again? That’s the world imagined in this Amazon Go advert.
The Verge has then taken this one step further – what if your fridge could figure out what you used in a week, order it for you and arrange your delivery? Between the Amazon Dash buttons – small devices which you press to stock up on essentials such as loo roll or, ahem, beer – and the Amazon Go technology, this vision of smart fridges and ‘just walk out’ tech doesn’t seem too outlandish any more.
6- Autonomous Vehicles
As much as we love our delivery routes, it seems as though the future may hold more jobs in remotely controlling driverless cars, rather than actually being in the driver’s seat ourselves. The McKinsey report states that 80% of deliveries are likely to be made by driverless cars in the next decade, but what will these vehicles look like?
This article from Front Seat Driver brings together a few different ideas. Mole Solutions envision an underground system, just for deliveries. Amazon is designing ‘beehives’ for autonomous drones. We’ll just have to wait and see!
7- The Future of Faxing?
Front Seat Driver concludes with a very interesting thought. As recently as 25 years ago, faxing didn’t yet exist as a mainstream way of sending information. Suddenly, messages could be broken down into signals, sent as dots and dashes, and rebuilt at the other end. There was no need for physical letters.
With this in mind, it becomes a little easier to imagine a future of 3D printing and being able to order and receive goods instantaneously with access to a printer.
The delivery industry, like any other, will adapt to survive and adopt the new tech as it becomes necessary to keep standards for customers up at their highest.
Here at Caledonian Couriers, we look forward to seeing how the role of the delivery service might change in the future. In the meantime: need something delivered? Get in touch with us!