The Cube: Autonomous Delivery to Grow Your Business




As a Cube insider, you'll get access to interesting new trends, what we think about them and how you can benefit.


New Trend: Autonomous Delivery is Not So Far Away

The future is not so distant when it comes to autonomous delivery, it provides an opportunity to lower cost, reduce accidents, and improve productivity. Autonomous delivery has channeled a new path for businesses to use new technology to their advantage. By 2028 the autonomous delivery industry is projected to reach 51 billion. It helps business’s target and cut costs on a large pain point for most delivery or shipping companies: the “last mile.” The last mile is the most time-consuming and expensive part of the process and in some cases can be 53% of the overall cost to deliver. Quick Service Restaurants, Online Services, Postal Services, and Retail and Department stores have partnered with various autonomous delivery companies to assist in capturing the potential growth for quick deliveries.

New Insight: Regulations for Delivery by Drone, Robot, and Self-Driving Car

Drones, robots, and self-driving cars are leading the path for autonomous delivery. They each have their own regulations and legislations that dictate where and how they operate. The autonomous delivery revolution has already begun, however some states are ahead of others. The states listed below have already authorized personal delivery devices such as cars and robots for commercial use on public roads.

  • Arizona

  • Colorado

  • Florida

  • Idaho

  • Missouri

  • North Carolina

  • Ohio

  • Pennsylvania

  • Tennessee

  • Texas

  • Virginia

  • Utah

  • Wisconsin

  • Washington

The states differ in their speed and weight limits for these autonomous vehicles but they typically have a weight limit between 80-120 lbs and max speed of 10-12 mph for sidewalks. For example, FedEx has released a 200 lb robot called Roxo that can only operate in states with high weight limits. Roxo can travel up to 5 miles for deliveries and carry up to 100 lbs of goods. The Scout from Amazon only weighs 100 lbs and has more opportunity to work in different states because of its size.


Drones are subject to unique regulations and must follow the rules set by the FAA. For example, drone pilots must have a P-135 Certificate from the FAA in order to be able to legally deliver items to consumers via drone delivery. Another mandate by the FAA ensures the packages the drone is carrying is under 55 lbs. Most drone deliveries are significantly smaller; Wing has a delivery drone that can only carry 3.3 lbs. Most drones can only handle packages between 3 and 6 lbs.


Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, and Domino’s all are breaking into the autonomous car delivery business by partnering with self-driving car companies. Domino’s has partnered with Nuro to create a self-driving pizza delivery car. In some cases, a large company might reach out to different autonomous delivery companies depending on location. Walmart has partnered with Waymo, Gatik, and Udelv to deliver goods autonomously.


New Action: Taking Advantage of Autonomous Delivery

Autonomous delivery can give a business an advantage over others by being able to capture the new technology as it rolls out into the market. Use these guiding principles to help make a decision.

  1. Does the state in which my business operates allow for autonomous delivery? -Some places have not authorized use of drones, robots, autonomous vehicles, and other personal delivery devices on public roads.

  2. Can my business benefit from having autonomous delivery? Make sure to assess the cost to you for shipping items or having an employee take the time out of his or her day to deliver the goods.

  3. Which delivery method is right for my business to invest in? It's important to keep the size of the package, number of packages, and average distance traveled when deciding on a method of delivery.

  4. Which delivery company is right for me? The opportunities are continuing to grow for autonomous delivery; some startups are still looking for investors and partners while other companies are ready to sell their drone services.

If you’re looking for how to start or expand autonomous delivery for your company, N³ Innovation can help you! Contact us today!


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