Autonomous delivery robots are a promising alternative for last-mile delivery. To realize the successful implementation of delivery robots in public spaces, it is important to study the interaction between robots and the traffic environment. The traffic environment includes the physical infrastructure and the objects using it, like cars and people.
New research proposes an assessment method to determine the readiness of a traffic environment for autonomous delivery robots. A proposed conceptual model includes the factors that determine this so-called “roboreadiness”. The two key components of the model are the robot’s performance in the traffic environment and its social acceptance. A real-life experimental test case, expert interviews, and a survey are used to refine and validate the framework.
The real-life test case showed for the basic variant a sufficient performance and social acceptance level. All other variants, such as pillars, road narrowing, and bends, did not lead to sufficient performance or social acceptance levels.
The main outcome of the research is an assessment framework that allows quantitative assess traffic performance and social acceptance of sidewalk automated delivery robots. Suggestions for future work include further detailing and elaborating the approach, scaling up experiments, and researching the possible influence of social acceptance on traffic performance.
Source: Arntz, E. M., Van Duin, J. H., Van Binsbergen, A. J., Tavasszy, L. A., & Klein, T. (2023). Assessment of readiness of a traffic environment for autonomous delivery robots. Frontiers in Future Transportation, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/ffutr.2023.1102302