Is automated parcel delivery getting another step closer?

If you are a regular reader of our blogs, you may recall that from time to time, we write about parcel delivery of the future, discovering the different trials that occur on occasions. This is something that would seem like it belonged in a sci-fi film until recently, but seems to be getting a step closer to reality with every trial or new invention that is tested. In our latest article, we’ll take a closer look at a new development within automated parcel delivery, and consider whether this is likely to bring it any closer to reality.

A leading parcel delivery company has experimented with the use of automated delivery, by making and releasing a robot which can deliver more than 30 parcels a day. This trial took place in two local areas within Milton Keynes, to see what the advantages of such operation were, and to learn of any problems and remedies that could be found.

How does it work? 

The robot had to ‘learn’ routes to be able to find a way to the target delivery addresses. Without this, it could not claim to be fully automated, as there would need to be some human input into the integral process otherwise. From the customer’s perspective, everyone was notified about the delivery and that it would be arriving via an automated robot. The customer then had to confirm they would be in or available to receive the goods which would then allow the robot to be dispatched. Once the robot was on its way, customers were able to track the progress of the journey on a map, and would be notified when it had reached their own address or location. Then, the customer would already have been provided with a pin code which they would need to enter to be able to open the compartment door, in order for them to retrieve the parcel. Once this had been done and the door shut back up, the robot was programmed to return to its base, to start again and pick up the next parcel for delivery.

Did it ‘work’?

This was a time limited trial with results being analysed. With a growing need and demand for sustainability and eco friendly credentials within the courier industry, these will surely be the main factors at work when success or otherwise is determined for the trial. What will also need to be addressed is some of the factors that may not have been present in this experiment, because it was a controlled environment, but may normally occur as part of every day life. For example, the customer had to confirm they were available at their location before the robot was dispatched. What would happen if they didn’t, or suddenly couldn’t make the delivery when the robot was en-route? What if someone forgot the pin, or there were problems with the compartment door opening to retrieve the parce


Whether it is automated parcel delivery, or self driving cars, when you completely remove the concept of a human that can think on their feet and in the moment, there is the potential for problems to occur. There is of course nothing stopping remedies for many of these ‘what if’ situations to be made. Remember that this is only another step in something that eventually we all know will be a big change, and revolutionise the way we not only receive parcels but carry out our lives.

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