Driverless car delivers packages without humans

This futuristic car could solve a multibillion-dollar problem facing Amazon, Walmart, and Target

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  • The company behind Walmart's pickup towers has developed a self-driving car that delivers packages to homes and businesses.
  • The car uses a robotic arm to place the packages in pickup lockers outside homes and businesses. Eventually, it will be able to deliver to mailboxes and pickup towers as well.
  • Autonomous delivery could be a boon for retailers, which have seen shipping costs balloon in recent years.
The company behind Walmart's pickup towers has developed a self-driving car that could upend the last-mile delivery industry.

The car, called Lotte, is a robotic courier. It autonomously transports packages to homes and businesses and uses a robotic arm to place the packages in a pickup locker. Eventually, it will be able to deliver packages to mailboxes and pickup towers as well.

The Lotte, designed by Estonia-based technology firm Cleveron, is among the only self-driving delivery vehicles that can complete deliveries without any human intervention.

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The Lotte robotic courier places a package inside a pickup locker. Cleveron

"Since the robot courier will replace human labor, which makes the last mile delivery cheaper," said Cleveron CEO Arno Kutt. "This in turn helps e-commerce grow even more — it will be less expensive (we eliminate labor costs) and extremely convenient (the parcels are waiting for you safely in your own parcel locker)."

A 2016 McKinsey study estimated that autonomous vehicles, including drones, would account for about 80% of all consumer parcel deliveries during the next 10 years.

And according to a new study from the consulting firm KPMG, approximately one million autonomous delivery robots could be on the streets by 2040.

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Autonomous delivery could be a boon for retailers, which have seen shipping costs balloon in recent years. Amazon, for example, saw its shipping costs double between 2015 and 2017 to $21.7 billion.

Ford and Walmart recently partnered to begin testing the delivery of goods using autonomous vehicles in Florida.
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