Broker predicts arrival of autonomous deliveries in 2016

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London-based parcel delivery broker ParcelHero has predicted that deliveries and returns will be at the forefront of UK retailer’s thinking in 2016, leading to the emergence of driverless deliveries and drone drop-offs, as well as the return of cycle deliveries.

In its blog 2016: The Year of Supersonic Delivery?, ParcelHero claims that driverless deliveries are closer than many people think and that a scheme is set to be trialled in Greenwich, London, later in 2016.

David Jinks, head of customer research for ParcelHero, said, “Greenwich’s streets will soon see the eerie sight of driverless vans operating a predetermined route, moving parcels between either warehouses and shops or stores and homes.

“The vehicles will be autonomous, and may serve a large distribution center and the O2 arena. However, while control of the vans is entirely automatic, ParcelHero expects there will be a person in the van to ensure the operation runs smoothly and to take control in the case of an emergency.”

As well as driverless vehicles, ParcelHero believes that drones could appear in UK skies sooner than previously predicted. Aviation regulations are holding back the introduction of drone deliveries in most countries; however, Amazon has claimed that the UK’s regulatory agencies are closer than most to putting something in place.

Robert Goodwill, transport minister for the UK, said, “We’re working with Amazon on the whole issue of drones. We’re both keen to innovate. Amazon came to see me to ask about starting drone trials in the UK because regulations in the USA were too restrictive.”

The broker also expects cycle deliveries to grow in the UK due to next generation cargo bikes that can carry parcels as well as mail. Due to a change in UK law in 2014, heavier models can now be fitted with electric assistance without being classed as motor vehicles.

Jinks said, “The Royal Mail controversially phased out postie’s bikes in 2014, and the famous red Pashley Mailstar cycle found itself recycled. Ironically, this ‘modernization’ came at a time when the green delivery movement is growing; and cargo bikes will become increasingly popular with operators for last-mile deliveries – particularly in cycle-friendly towns and cities such as Cambridge.”

To read more from ParcelHero’s blog click here.

January 8, 2016

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, editor-in-chief

Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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