Scope of Using Autonomous Trucks and Lorries for Parcel Deliveries in Urban Settings
- How is the introduction and implementation of self-driving trucks currently viewed by the experts of the CEP segment?
- How could autonomous T&L be more advantageous than traditional delivery methods when it comes to urban areas?
- What are the possible barriers that could hinder or slow down the implementation of autonomous T&L in urban settings?
- To sketch use-case scenarios for driverless T&L in urban settings;
- To investigate the feasibility of a potential autonomous delivery implementation from different viewpoints;
- To review the possible logistical changes this implementation could bring for the CEP sector.
2. Literature Review
2.1. Urban Delivery
2.1.1. Domains of Urban Logistics
2.1.2. Courier, Express and Parcel (CEP) Companies
2.1.3. Challenges of Urban Deliveries and the CEP Sector
2.2. Autonomous Trucks
2.2.1. A Promising Solution
2.2.2. Autonomous Driving
2.2.3. Autonomous Truck Patents and Examples
2.2.4. Future Use Cases of Autonomous Trucks
2.3. Implications for Logistics
3.1. Research Philosophy and Research Approach
3.2. Data Collection Method
3.3. Selecting Samples and Creating Access
3.4. The Interview Process
3.5. Data Analysis
3.6. Reporting the Findings
4. Results and Analysis
4.1. How Is the Introduction and Implementation of Self-Driving Trucks Currently Viewed by the Experts of the CEP Segment? (RQ 1.)
4.1.1. Autonomous Driving and Autonomous Vehicles
4.1.2. Logistical Innovations (in the CEP Industry)
4.1.3. Potential Use-Cases
4.1.4. Alteration of Logistical Processes
4.1.5. Estimated Timeframe
4.2. How Could Autonomous Trucks or Lorries (T&L) Be More Advantageous Than Traditional Delivery Methods When It Comes to Urban Areas? (RQ 1a.)
4.2.1. Cost Advantage
4.2.2. Enhanced Customer Service
4.2.3. Competitive Advantage
4.2.4. Negative Externalities
4.2.5. Most Significant Advantages
4.3. What Are the Possible Barriers That Could Hinder or Slow Down the Implementation of Autonomous T&L In Urban Settings? (RQ 1b.)
4.3.1. Legislative Issues
4.3.2. Infrastructure and Technology
4.3.3. Restructured Workforce
4.3.4. Altered Customer Experience
4.4. Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat (SWOT) Analysis
5.1. Reflection on Findings
5.2. Unanswered Questions
Limitations of the Research
Conflicts of Interest
|Part 1||• demographic questions|
• position and responsibilities
• information about the company
|Tell me something about the company you are working at? What is the focus of the company?|
Could you describe your position and your responsibilities in the company?
|Part 2||• general trends|
• autonomous vehicles
• logistical solutions
• attitude of the CEP company toward innovations
• challenges of the last-mile delivery
|What do you understand under the “autonomous trucks” term?|
Is your company interested in the topic of autonomous trucks?
Do you think postal or CEP companies are suitable for implementing driverless trucks or lorries? (Why?) Are there any barriers?
|Part 3||• possible use cases and introduction in the CEP sector|
• implications on logistics
• new services
|Could you describe one (or more) specific use(s) case of the autonomous truck in the CEP industry?|
What would be the advantages and disadvantages of autonomous trucks in your opinion?
Which prominent issues could autonomous trucks mitigate and which not?
Would the implementation alter any logistical processes? Which one?
Is there a new service which could be provided?
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|Company||Name/Type of Vehicle||Description||Reference|
|Autonomous van with built-in parcel lockers||A so-called ”box truck” could have several different compartments each secured with a code|||
|Ford||”Autolivery” autonomous van||A self-driving van combined with drones that could transport parcels or everyday items|||
|Daimler||Mercedes-Benz Vision Van||The van has a fully automated cargo loading system and can launch self-driving robots or drones to transport the parcel to the doors of the customer|||
|Charge||Self-driving, electric delivery van||The vehicle is lightweight and can be assembled in only 4 hours by one person|||
|Next||Mobile parcel locker||A customizable automated modular vehicle solution which can be used as a parcel locker|||
|Renault||EZ-PRO electric transport platform||A robot-vehicle designed for urban deliveries|||
|Organisation Type||Operations in Countries||Number of Interviewees||Interview Mode||Interview Time||Position Held||Experience in Years||City, Country|
|CEP A||23 countries||1||Telephone||35 Minutes||General Manager||25 years||Vienna, Austria|
|CEP B||9 countries||2||In person||25 Minutes||Head of Innovation||7/10 years||Vienna, Austria|
|CEP C||220 countries||1||Telephone||40 Minutes||Global Head of Quality||20 years||Vienna, Austria|
|Delivery Options and Choices||Examples|
|Elimination of human errors|
• constant performance
|“if you program the technology behind this vehicle really well, it will execute its job perfectly” (E3)|
“[the autonomous vehicle] does not need further instructions or training, it does not get sick, it does not have bad days, it will always perform consistently well” (E3)
“many of the accidents happen because the driver was tired” (E1)
|A solution to the driver shortage and demand growth||“I think for our industry that it is a very positive development because we already suffer from having not enough drivers for our trucks” (E1)|
“there are periods when CEP companies have to deliver more parcels because the demand is really fluctuating, this solution can also help in those situations” (E3)
|Cost reduction||“because there will be no driver, the company will not have to pay loans, sick leave or any kind of these costs (...) of course, there will be some maintenance costs, but you can plan with these fix costs and it will be way less than the costs you have to pay to an employee” (E3)|
“if there is no need for a driver anymore it will reduce the costs” (E1)
|Environmental factors||“it will have a positive effect on the CO2 reduction (...) driving autonomously means actually less pollution because there is more technology behind the truck, you have the right speed and a reduced amount of fuel” (E1)|
“there could also be some environmental advantages if the vehicles would be electric (...) maybe solar panels could be mounted on the top of them” (E3)
“the full capacity could be used to store more parcels because you would not need a driver seat and wheel (...) so the whole delivery process could be established in a more efficient way, which could be environmentally friendly” (E3)
• instant delivery
• scheduled delivery
• night-time delivery
• weekend delivery
|“it opens the possibility for different services depending on the customer’s needs, for example, the customer could contact the van, by sending a message that he/she is at home and this way the van could arrive in the area in a timeframe which is suitable for the recipient” (E3)|
“instant delivery, night-time delivery or deliveries on some kind of scheduled basis could work” (E2)
“when you drive on a Sunday, you normally have certain rules which lead to problems when it comes to the labor law (...), so yes, maybe that is a possibility to enlarge the service” (E1)
|The general acceptance of the customers||“there might be risks of how the economy accepts or sees technology” (E2)|
“[autonomous vehicles] might scare the customer because this something they are not used to see” (E2)
|Increased inconvenience for the customers||“in order to receive your parcel, you have to plan your way to the vehicle” (E2)|
“most of the customers want to get the parcel in their hands or see the parcel on the doorstep” (E3)
“Is the customer willing to come and pick up the parcel in every situation? (…) it could be raining or snowing” (E2)
“other factors could disturb the whole process, for example, the weather” (E3)
“maybe I ordered a really heavy parcel which I would like to see in front of my door” (E3)
|Communication with the customers||“How will the communication be established? How could you follow where your parcel is at the moment?” (E2)|
“I can see a huge obstacle when it comes to B2C e-commerce deliveries in urban areas, and that is the communication with the recipient. So, if an autonomous van will stop before my house, how will the vehicle notify me? How will I get my parcel?” (E3)
|Missing human interaction||“I think the B2C sector right now is defined by this human-human interaction” (E3)|
“the customer expects a certain delivery experience which is connected to the interaction between the postman and the recipient (…) if our employee rings the bell to hand over the parcel to you, this is something that is typically noticed as a very nice interaction with the postman, because you receive something” (E2)
|1. reduced labor costs|
2. competitive advantage/unique selling proposition
3. new possible CEP services
4. enhanced company image
5. can be an integral part of corporate social responsibility (CSR)
|1. full reliance on technology|
2. delivery processes might need to be changed or modeled from scratch
3. requires information technology (IT) infrastructure and connectivity
4. restructuring of the workforce
5. increased capital costs
|1. new business cooperation types|
2. increased investments in research and development (R&D)
3. push for environmental sustainability and green city logistics
4. promising new technologies and logistic trends
|1. competition between different delivery modes|
2. customer acceptance
3. legislative issues
4. technical capabilities of autonomous ground vehicles (AGVs) might be overestimated
5. cybersecurity and data protection
6. economic and market conditions
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Kassai, E.T.; Azmat, M.; Kummer, S. Scope of Using Autonomous Trucks and Lorries for Parcel Deliveries in Urban Settings. Logistics 2020, 4, 17. https://doi.org/10.3390/logistics4030017
Kassai ET, Azmat M, Kummer S. Scope of Using Autonomous Trucks and Lorries for Parcel Deliveries in Urban Settings. Logistics. 2020; 4(3):17. https://doi.org/10.3390/logistics4030017Chicago/Turabian Style
Kassai, Evelyne Tina, Muhammad Azmat, and Sebastian Kummer. 2020. "Scope of Using Autonomous Trucks and Lorries for Parcel Deliveries in Urban Settings" Logistics 4, no. 3: 17. https://doi.org/10.3390/logistics4030017