The exponential outbreak of coronavirus has impelled individuals and businesses to halt their commutable operations and encouraged them to follow social distancing across the globe. With the rising number of the COVID19 positives and infected patients, has driven the demand for necessities such as groceries and medical supplies. One of the popular modes of last-mile transport is autonomous delivery vehicles, which proves to be a suitable alternative in case of such a pandemic situation. A company such as Neolix Technologies, a China-based robotic-assisted vehicle manufacturer, has identified the autonomous delivery vehicle’s market potential and is observed deploying its autonomous vans in the streets of China to deliver necessities to the consumers. The consequential benefits offered by the vehicles are also influencing governments to promote such vans as a front line tactical and strategic approach to stop the spread. For instance, recently, in March 2020, the Chinese government encouraged the purchase of Neolix Technologies autonomous delivery vehicles among consumers by subsidizing 60% of the total vehicle price.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, autonomous delivery vehicles are anticipated to bridge the gap in last-mile delivery and logistics. Commercialization of such vehicles is expected to grow at a faster rate as governments impose nationwide lockdown and self-quarantine measures for a more extended period. In the current condition, the autonomous delivery vehicle market experienced a sudden boost in the early introductory growth phase. Consumers are increasingly purchasing vehicles to reduce their risk of getting infected. For instance, the Neolix Technologies inventory of autonomous van got depleted within months. The autonomous delivery vehicle market also observed the rise in strategic partnerships among automobile companies and technology providers to develop autonomous driving and delivery technology. For instance, in March 2020, Hyundai Motor Group, a South Korea based automobile manufacturer, entered into a joint venture partnership with Aptiv, a U.S. based autonomous mobility technology provider, to develop autonomous driving technology.
Further, the adoption of autonomous delivery systems is also growing among the government associations in the critical nationwide emergency to disinfect affected areas, deliver medicines, and monitor crowd control. For instance, recently, in April 2020, the Commissionerate of Police of the Telangana state of India utilized drones to monitor the public crowd, sprayed disinfectants in the affected areas, and delivered medicines to the needy. The trials of such autonomous delivery systems proved to be a much faster way of the delivery medium as compared to the traditional medium. The contactless autonomous delivery mediums are becoming a boon in the present critical situation. However, the adoption of such autonomous delivery vehicles and other aerial mediums are expected to decline once the corona impact reduces owing to security concerns.
Amongst the ground-based autonomous delivery vehicles, the utilization and adoption of delivery bots are growing. The delivery bots are the autonomous small-sized ground robots that can deliver small and lightweight packages of foods, groceries, materials, and medicines. These ground-based robots offer contactless alternatives to the standard deliveries and thus, reduce spreading infections from person-to-person. The delivery bots are currently used more frequently in eastern China. For instance, the Unity-Drive Innovation Technology Co., Ltd. (UDI), a Shenzhen, China-based autonomous vehicle manufacturer is operating their fleets in the eastern cities of China to deliver meals to the checkpoint workers, fresh produce to the communities, and sprayed disinfectants near hospitals.
The corona outbreak has affected every part of the value chain from the procurement process to the end-user distribution. Businesses are experiencing a shortage of laborers and a rise in online orders. As a result, business operations and productions are getting blackout. The consequential impact in distribution is influencing the demand for the autonomous delivery vehicle to supplement the labor challenges. And a rise in ground testing and implementation of the vehicles is increasing considerably across the globe. For instance, companies such as Amazon.com, Inc., FedEx, United Parcel Service of America, Inc., and Alphabet Inc. are already in progress of testing and implementing autonomous modes for delivering goods and services.
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Autonomous delivery vehicles are bridging the gap in last-mile delivery and logistics in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The need to reduce interpersonal contact and COVID triggered a surge in online orders for grocery shopping and medical supplies, thereby increasing the ground testing and implementation drastically. Can companies adapt their experience of transporting supplies in the test zones, and scale up their operations in the most affected countries? We are continuously monitoring the market dynamics and trying to assess the impact of Covid19 on the demand for autonomous delivery. The report will account for Covid-19 as a key market contributor.
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