Autonomous deliveries are being tested on university campuses worldwide, but the impact of such technology on the business models of freight service providers is poorly understood. Through interviews, workshops, and site visits, a new paper by Jon Williamsson explores the potential impact of autonomous deliveries on the business model of a campus-based freight services provider and what possible general lessons can be learned. The trials were designed by HUGO Delivery and carried out at Campus Johanneberg in Gothenburg, Chalmers University’s main campus.
The results identify costs and benefits contingent on the type of resources and activities that the provider of the autonomous system incorporates in their service. While door-to-door deliveries of intermittent and low-volume batches to and from the depot or between local receivers were identified as attractive and feasible service segments, realizing a more valuable high-volume room-to-room service would require considerable investments at both the depot and the delivery points.
To improve the quality of autonomous deliveries, the investments need to target three barriers: access, capability, and acceptance. Willingness to make investments depend on the freight service provider’s ability to present tangible benefits to stakeholders and generate sustainable customer value. To support a scalable business model, autonomous delivery services must be designed to minimize interference from stakeholders in public spaces and at delivery spots.
Source: Jon Williamsson (2021), Business model design for campus-based autonomous deliveries – A Swedish case study, Research in Transportation Business & Management, 2021, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rtbm.2021.100758.