KPMG: autonomous delivery vehicles will drive 78 billion miles per year by 2040

The development of autonomous delivery vehicles will revolutionize the consumer e-commerce environment, creating a new product delivery ecosystem over the next 20 years, according to a study by tax and advisory firm KPMG LLP.

The KPMG study forecasts a fulfillment system rooted in artificial intelligence and robotics, in which orders for goods are placed, received, communicated, then delivered via a fleet of autonomous vehicles.

“E-commerce has been a tremor, but autonomous delivery vehicles now represent an earthquake of a magnitude not seen before,” said Gary Silberg, KPMG’s automotive sector leader. “With the push of a button, consumers will have their orders fulfilled far more efficiently than ever could be imagined because autonomous delivery will use cloud computer networking, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence to deliver their orders at an unprecedented rate. For consumers, the delivery experience will go from next day to same day to next hour to even next minute.”

Lower cost of delivery, accelerating fulfillment demand and a reduction in the number of personal vehicles in use will drive a “monumental change in consumer behavior,” according to the study, and will transform automobile and transportation industries in key ways.

Fundamental changes
Markedly lower cost of delivery, more rapid delivery and fewer personal vehicles available for shopping as consumers reduce the number of vehicles they own will result in a monumental change in consumer behavior and a global transformation for the automobile and transportation industries, including:

  • Soaring increases in delivery vehicle miles traveled, which could reach 78 billion miles per year by 2040, to meet the consumer demand for same day or same-hour delivery.
  • An exploding market in the “islands of autonomy” for specialized autonomous delivery vehicles, on the ground and in the air, to service the delivery of goods at different response times. There will be a particularly robust demand for small, single-package delivery vehicles to satisfy same-hour delivery demand as well as a growing market for vehicles that can hold multiple customer orders for efficient same-day or next-day delivery.
  • New services and businesses to support delivery and to manage these vehicles. Those new services will range from building delivery bots to routing, to cleaning, to charging, to maintenance.
  • A new infrastructure to enable the eco-system for the delivery of goods, including changes in sidewalks to accommodate bots, loading and unloading zones, spaces for delivery lockboxes — a modern “milk-box,” stations for storing vehicles and locations for cleaning and maintaining them.

“Future delivery and retailing markets must be analyzed and developed locally if a business wants to excel,” said Tom Mayor, KPMG’s strategy lead for Industrial Manufacturing. “The winners will undertake, ‘island-by-island’ analyses of metro markets to understand residential densities, shopping patterns and the resulting, localized consumer time-and-convenience sensitivities that will determine the likely mix of next-day, same-day, same-hour or ‘get-it-myself’ shopping. As a result, shopping and last-mile logistics will never be the same.”

Source: KPMG

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