Vehicle manufacturer Ford has released details of a new last-mile delivery concept that combines self-driving vans with unmanned aerial vehicles to pick up and drop off parcels in an urban environment.
The Autolivery concept focuses on the last 15m (49ft) (curb to door) of the supply chain, which has so far proved to be the most challenging part of the delivery process to automate. The design has been created by three employees from Shanghai, China, as part of Ford’s Last Mile Mobility Challenge.
“It’s all about making life in the city easier,” said Euishik Bang, one of the concept’s designers. “The possibility of harnessing autonomous and electric vehicle technology with drones to quickly and easily send and deliver parcels could help to make life better for everyone.”
Ford now intends to have a fully autonomous, SAE level 4-capable vehicle ready for package deliveries by 2021. Other Last Mile Mobility Challenge designs from Ford employees include the Carr-E robotic riding platform and TriCiti tricycle.
Ford is currently showcasing the idea as part of its City of Tomorrow presentation at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) taking place in Barcelona, Spain, from February 27-March 2, 2017. Visitors at MWC can view the Autolivery concept in 3D using virtual reality headsets. Through its City of Tomorrow initiative, Ford aims to overcome mobility challenges in urban environments, including gridlock, air pollution and last-mile logistics.
Ken Washington, vice president, research and advanced engineering, Ford, said, “Ford has at its heart a culture of disruption and innovation designed to come up with solutions that put people first, to save them time, money and aggravation, and also to make our cities easier to navigate and better to live in.”
“While the scene shown today is not yet possible, Autolivery suggests how our on-going mobility research could enrich our lives in a more sustainable City of Tomorrow.”
February 28, 2017