Automation represents the next big buzz in transport and promises many benefits for society, including more efficient use of space, energy, and time and reduced costs. Accordingly, an impressive range of autonomous vehicles has been introduced, covering personal and goods transport applications. In particular, in response to the global pandemic linked to COVID-19, autonomous vehicles were proposed and celebrated as safe and reliable home delivery solutions of the future.
In visionary trend reports, eye-catching press releases, and promising research simulations, the actual applicability of autonomous vehicles in an e-commerce context remains challenging to assess. Moreover, this lack of clarity holds for delivery automation in ordinary and exceptional circumstances, such as a severe health crisis.
To understand the state of practice and future potential of autonomous vehicles for e-commerce delivery in cities, researchers from Gustave Eiffel University, Logistics City chair, France, carried out desk and field research. This article structures the different types of autonomous e-commerce delivery vehicles and scenarios and discusses their state of practice and potential in ordinary and exceptional circumstances. The study focuses on France against a comprehensive international backdrop.
Source: Buldeo Rai, H., Touami, S., & Dablanc, L. (2022). Autonomous e-commerce delivery in ordinary and exceptional circumstances. The French case. Research in Transportation Business & Management, 45, 100774. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rtbm.2021.100774