Drone and self-driving vehicle adoption will create a $4.9B market by 2030

Demand in the food and retail sectors will push the adoption of delivery drones and self-driving vehicles. A report from consultancy MarketsandMarkets “Autonomous Last-Mile Delivery Market by Platform,” predicts the drone and self-driving vehicle sector will grow to $4.9 billion by 2030, growing more than 20 percent each year. The report sees the advancement of sense-and-avoid systems in aerial delivery drones, expansion of e-commerce and increased use of low-cost and light payload drones by startups for product delivery.

The report breaks the growth down by platform, combining ground delivery vehicles such as self-driving trucks and vans and delivery robots into one group and cargo and delivery drones into another.

The report suggested that the use of autonomous vehicles, regardless of platform, could reduce last-mile delivery costs for the retail industry between 80% and 90%. “Furthermore, advancement in technology for autonomous ground delivery vehicles and increase in venture funding for the development of next-level ground delivery vehicles has enhanced the market growth. Suppliers are implementing autonomous means such as drones and robots to deliver the goods to the customer without human participation.

The number of firms has grown fast in recent years and includes Nuro, Einride, Elroy Air, Vecna Robotics, Uber, Serve Robotics and Starship Technologies. MarketsandMarkets identified global leaders as JD.com, Amazon, Kiwi Campus, Zipline, United Parcel Service, Wing, Flirtey, and Aerodyne Group. New pilots are launching almost daily. For example, FedEx and Domino’s are testing robot delivery with Nuro in Texas, Walmart is trialing autonomous middle-mile delivery with Gatik in Arkansas, and Uber and Lyft have announced self-driving delivery and ride-share pilots. UPS and Amazon are also working on drone delivery programs.

In particular, North America and the U.S. will lead the way during this period, MarketsandMarkets said, noting that investment by government and private firms are pushing advancements in autonomous last-mile solutions faster than other parts of the world. 

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