How COVID-19 could open the door for driverless deliveries - World Economic Forum


  • The COVID-19 pandemic is putting pressure on deliveries and local logistics.

  • Autonomous vehicles (AVs) could help alleviate the strain on existing delivery services while reducing the risk of exposure for citizens.

  • Yet regulatory hurdles remain before AVs can be deployed at scale.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put an incredible strain on global supply chains, from medical supplies to household goods, as spikes in demand stress-test logistics infrastructures. There is an opportunity for unmanned delivery vehicles to assist in addressing this demand and help to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

Here's a look at some of the challenges and opportunities for automated vehicles (AVs) in last-mile deliveries and local logistics.

COVID-19 has put the focus on local logistics

In the World Economic Forum’s recently published report on "The Future of the Last-Mile Ecosystem," we anticipated that demand for e-commerce delivery will result in 36% more delivery vehicles in inner cities by 2030. The COVID-19 crisis has caused a huge increase in demand, as people around the world are self-isolating, quarantining or working from home for extended periods, suddenly increasing the need for food, groceries, household items and even medical supplies to be delivered to the homes of millions of people.

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