Y4R1 - Evaluating the Adoption and Impact of Autonomous Delivery Modern Technologies

The tremendous potential of technology-driven innovations to address the inefficiencies in last mile deliveries has prompted e-commerce companies, retail chains, logistic providers and technology start-ups to invest in sidewalk autonomous delivery robots (SADRs) and road autonomous delivery vehicles (RADRs). The growing appeal for utilizing SADR and RADR technologies arises from the increased demand for same-day deliveries in business to consumer (B2C) e-commerce and the associated challenges for logistics providers (Cárdenas et al., 2017; Jennings and Figliozzi, 2019; Wang et al., 2016). Apart from improving the delivery efficiency, autonomous vehicles have the potential for initiating a more sustainable, and customer focused delivery practice with limited externalities on road congestion, noise and CO₂ emissions (Hardi and Wagner, 2019; Stolaroff et al., 2018). Due to the rapid advancements sensing technology and artificial intelligence algorithms, large-scale deployments of autonomous delivery vehicles are on the verge of becoming a reality in some delivery scenarios with known and repeatable routes. SADRs and RADRs developed by Amazon, FedEx, Starship, and Nuro are already deployed and being tested in multiple U.S. cities. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the need for contactless deliveries that avoid the risk of person-to-person infection has made it clear that autonomous robot deliveries have many advantages. Consumers, businesses, and governments have switched from cautious beta testers into eager early adopters. Despite this unprecedented requirement necessitated by the pandemic, SADRs and RADRs need to be deployed by logistics service providers and Government agencies in a way that is generally accepted by the public. In fact, if not widely accepted by the public, the development and introduction of autonomous delivery vehicles can be a substantial waste of resources for logistics service providers and vehicle developers alike. Therefore, it is imperative to conduct micro-level behavioral research on user acceptance early in the deployment roadmap of delivery robots to be able to design, develop and promote them as an accepted alternative to its conventional delivery practices (i.e., van-based human delivery). One of the contributions of the proposed project is to address this urgent research gap by investigating the psychological factors that determine public acceptance of ADRs (Autonomous Delivery Robots) from an end-consumer perspective. To evaluate delivery robot adoption rates and tradeoffs it is necessary to model how vehicles are likely to evolve. Technology is evolving rapidly and new players like Tesla are entering the heavy and light truck electric vehicle (EV) market pushing up freight EV efficiency and capabilities (Ulrich, 2020). Delivery cost is an important variable that is changing as technologies and vehicles are evolving. In addition, cities are reevaluating how to assign and prioritize roadway and curb infrastructure during and after COVID-19 (Davies, 2020). Autonomous delivery vehicles can also interact with smart curb and parking management technology in ways that may increase delivery efficiency and resource utilization by reducing double parking and congestion (Jennings and Figliozzi, 2019). ADRs are also likely to affect not just the last mile but also the last echelons of supply chains.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $266740
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      Freight Mobility Research Institute

      Florida Atlantic University
      Boca Raton, FL  United States  33431
    • Project Managers:

      Stearns, Amy

    • Performing Organizations:

      Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton

      Boca Raton, FL  United States  33431

      Portland State University

      1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 175
      Portland, Oregon  United States  97201

      University of Memphis

      Center for Intermodal Freight Transportation Studies
      3815 Central Avenue
      Memphis, TN  United States  38152
    • Principal Investigators:

      Kaisar, Evangelos

      Figliozzi, Miguel

      Golias, M

      Mishra, Sabyasachee

    • Start Date: 20210604
    • Expected Completion Date: 20210824
    • Actual Completion Date: 20210824
    • USDOT Program: Advanced Research

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01779771
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Freight Mobility Research Institute
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747120
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Aug 25 2021 10:58AM