Ford, has presented a concept that combines delivery vans and drones to develop a vision of the future for last mile deliveries.
The Autolivery concept, developed by a team of Ford employees for the company’s Last Mile Delivery Challenge, envisages electric self-driving vans used together with drones to pick up and drop off goods and packages in urban areas. The concept was revealed through virtual reality headsets at last week’s Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, in Barcelona, as part of Ford’s vision of the “City of Tomorrow”.
The concept showed dinner party preparations, with a missing ingredient quickly ordered and delivered in time to add to the recipe.
“Ford has, at its heart, a culture of disruption and innovation designed to come up with solutions that put people first to save them time, money and aggravation, and also to make our cities easier to navigate and better to live in,” said Ken Washington, Vice President, Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company.
The Autolivery idea, one of many submitted by Ford employees to tackle the last mile challenge, paid particular attention to the challenge of the “last 15 metres” in goods delivery. Widely considered the most challenging part of the goods delivery process to automate, many companies are working on how to solve the complexity of delivering packages the last 15 metres, or from kerb to door. The pressure to solve this challenge is expected to increase globally in coming years with a rise in local deliveries due to online sales.
“While the scene shown today is not yet possible, Autolivery suggests how our ongoing mobility research could enrich our lives in a more sustainable ‘City of Tomorrow’,” said Washington.
Autolivery was developed by Shanghai-based Ford designers Euishik Bang, James Kuo and Chelsia Lau.
“It’s all about making life in the city easier,” said Bang. “The possibility of harnessing autonomous and electric vehicle technology with drones, to quickly and easily send and deliver parcels, could help to make life better for everyone.”