2018 Proves Big Year for Autonomous Delivery Vehicles and Mobile Payments

December 31, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

For a good long while now, I’ve been routinely decrying the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its magnificent impression of a stone wall as regards progress on autonomous delivery aircraft. It’ s a fantastic idea, and the kind of thing that dovetails well with mobile payments because you can order from and receive delivery to just about anywhere that way. The modern corporation, meanwhile, isn’t letting the FAA shutter all progress on this, as 2018 proved to be a big year for delivery drones in the form of cars.

The developments started early, as Ford and Postmates came together back in early 2018, not long after the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) concluded that year. Tests of the Ford / Postmates alliance were launched effectively in June, and the end result proved reasonable enough for starters. The completely self-driving cars are poised for a 2021 rollout.

It didn’t stop there, either; back in June, we also heard about connections between Kroger and Nuro, which got tested later this year in Arizona. Several autonomous driving startups fired up, and increasingly, we saw companies moving to put cars on the road that could drive themselves to their destinations and carry cargo along with them.

Daniel Laury—the CEO of one such startup, udelv—noted “We aim to use our technology to solve issues associated with the current delivery industry, including the cost and the poor customer experience. The company’s mission is to make everyone’s life easier and build the future of transportation. “

All of this sounds great and all, but it’s once again solving the wrong problem. Sure, it’s good to have an autonomous delivery vector that the feds won’t wail and gnash their teeth and demand fines in exchange for, but autonomous cars aren’t the answer. Why? Because there’s no point. If there are autonomous cars, then I don’t need delivery. I can have my car take me to any restaurant and then bring me home again. Sure, there’s a little extra convenience as I can stay home, but the time savings aren’t exactly significant.

It’s good to see businesses trying, but autonomous cars weren’t the delivery concept we needed. It’s the only one we really have, though, so kudos to business for at least trying something.