Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

2016 year of driverless deliveries, drones, and bikes

William Payne
January 20, 2016
Parcel broker ParcelHero has predicted that deliveries will become the new retail battle ground, with delivery choice as important as price for many consumers. Deliveries in 2016 will see driverless vans, delivery drones and an increasing presence of bicycle deliveries.

ParcelHero’s Head of Customer Research, David Jinks said: ‘This year will see a transformation in the way we send and receive parcels and deliveries. We believe seemingly ‘sci-fi’ delivery methods are nearer than most people think. Driverless deliveries may sound like something out of 'I Robot', but in fact will be happening in London this year. Greenwich’s streets will soon see the eerie sight of driverless vans operating a predetermined route, moving parcels between either warehouses and shops or stores and homes.’

‘The vehicles will be autonomous,' said Mr Jinks, 'and may serve a large distribution centre and the O2 Arena. However, whilst control of the vans is entirely automatic, ParcelHero expects there will be a person in the van to ensure the operation runs smoothly and to take control in the case of an emergency.’

As well as driverless vehicles, drones could appear in skies far sooner than has been previously predicted. Aviation regulations are now holding back their introduction just as much, if not more, than technology issues.

In the UK the Government has been quick to support Amazon’s trials. Last year Amazon approached the UK Government about developing drones in the UK to deliver items here; as it felt America’s Federal Aviation Authority rules had hindered their development.

UK Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: 'We're working with Amazon, and Government is working on the whole issue of drones… We're both keen to innovate'. Mr Goodwill added: 'Amazon came to see me to ask about starting drone trials in the UK because regulations in the US were too restrictive.’

In December 2015 Amazon boss Jeff Bezos revealed: 'One of the regulatory agencies that's moving fastest on this is the UK, so it's possible that drone deliveries will start first in the UK.'

ParcelHero believes that 2016 will also see the return of bicycles for deliveries.

‘The (UK) Royal Mail controversially phased out postie’s bikes in 2014,' said Mr Jinks, 'and the famous red Pashley Mailstar cycle found itself re‘cycle’d. Ironically, this ‘modernisation’ come at a time when the green delivery movement is growing; and cargo bikes will become increasingly popular with operators for last mile deliveries - particularly in cycle-friendly towns and cities such as Cambridge.’ The next generation cargo bikes can carry parcels as well as mail, and – thanks to a change in the law last year - heavier cargo bikes can now be fitted with electric assistance without being classified as motor vehicles.'