Developments in autonomous driving vehicles are speeding up and they are no more a fantasy. The impact of innovative mobility solutions on society will be huge and is already recognized by most industries as well as governments. Self-driving vehicles will probably change the entire mobility ecosystem but this is not all. They will have a big impact on retail and change our habits of shopping. No more need to go to stores to see and try the products, they will come to your door ! And of course with shorter delivery times which will cost you less ! Here are some examples of self-driving vehicles that I have chosen for you : Toyota e-palette concept, Robomart, Moby Mart and Nuro.
Toyota e-palette concept
During CES 2018 in Las Vegas, Toyota had announced the e-Palette concept vehicle that is designed to meet the demands of future multi-mode transportation and business applications. The e-Palette concept previews a future where autonomous vehicles are flexible and seamlessly shareable between people and businesses for a variety of uses.
The variations in sizes allow the e-Palette to transform a wide range of services from ride-sharing or car-pooling to mobile offices, retail spaces, medical clinics or even a pizza oven on wheels.
Toyota has created an alliance of business partners called the e-Palette Alliance to support e-commerce mobility, turning its mobility services platform into a common platform. Initial members of the alliance include Amazon, DiDi, Uber, Pizza Hut, and Mazda. Toyota also continues to discuss the creation of new mobility services with other service providers and technology development companies.
Toyota is not the only company which presented self-driving car technology during CES 2018. A startup called Robomart debuted a self-driving, electric, nearly fully autonomous grocery store on wheels. The robot will bring fruits, vegetables, and other perishable items from the supermarket aisle to customers’ doors.
Customers use a smartphone app to summon the vehicle and when it shows up at the curb, they can unlock the door to select the products they want. The checkout-free technology adds up the bill and sends a receipt. Robomart is not only five times cheaper than conventional delivery services but is environment-friendly as well according to the company.
According to a marketing research realised among US women aged 26-44, 85% do not shop for fruits and vegetables online, because they felt home delivery is too expensive and that they wanted to pick their own products. Almost 65% declared that they would order a robomart more than once a week.
A 2/47 store, open every day, with no staff, no cash and no checkout. They are slick, smart and can park on any parking space or driveway in the world. Welcome to the new world of Moby Mart™.
Developed by Stockholm-based start-up Wheelys, the Moby Mart mobile store is run entirely using artificial intelligence and sensors, is entirely staffless, and enables visitors to scan items they want to buy with their smartphone. It runs on solar power with a mission of making grocery shopping environmentally-friendly, easy to access, and cheaper to operate.
Customers must download an app in order to shop at Moby, and once they have collected their groceries, the store scans and charges them accordingly. The app also lets you call a nearby Moby to your area. Advanced AI technology allows each travelling store to know when to restock on groceries.
Nuro, California based startup created by ex-google engineers, unveiled an autonomous vehicle designed for making local commerce deliveries. The company plans to have several of the vehicles making deliveries on public roads by the end of the year. It’s also developing another version of the vehicle that’s suitable for mass production.
The current prototype vehicle is about the height of an SUV but far narrower than a typical car. The vehicle weighs about a third of a standard car, and is built for urban and suburban environments. The company doesn’t envision it driving on highways. Nuro co-founder Dave Ferguson told CNN Tech :
« Consumers used to be okey with two-week paid shipping. It became two-week free delivery, followed by one week, two days, and the same day. Now, same-day delivery isn’t fast enough for some customers. »