One of the sectors most affected by the evolution of e-commerce is transportation. In response to this strong growth, new innovative solutions are increasingly emerging to deliver orders more efficiently. These solutions could help meet the new demands of consumers who want to receive their deliveries quickly and safely. Some of the most promising innovative solutions include drones, robots, autonomous vehicles and local delivery.
1. The delivery drone
Several carriers in Canada are experimenting with the use of drones as a transportation solution. Feasibility studies and numerous tests are underway to allow delivery from one fixed point to another (warehouses, delivery centers, etc.). However, companies wishing to offer this type of service must comply with federal regulations from Transport Canada as well as several strict rules to be followed to ensure data security and confidentiality. Carriers wishing to use delivery drones will also need to obtain a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) from Transport Canada before they can use them for commercial deliveries.
Despite these requirements, drones could have many benefits. Here are the main ones:
- Speed of delivery: Drones can fly directly to their destination, avoiding traffic jams and other obstacles that slow down ground deliveries. This allows for faster delivery, often in just a few hours, which can be especially useful for urgent deliveries.
- Lower cost: Delivery drones have a relatively low cost of operation compared to traditional delivery vehicles, as they do not require a human driver and use less energy. As a result, companies that deal with dedicated carriers can save money on labor and fuel costs.
- Increased accessibility: Drones can deliver packages to areas where roads are impassable or inaccessible, such as mountainous regions, remote islands or areas affected by natural disasters. Drones can also be used to deliver packages to people living in rural or remote areas, often with fewer delivery options.
- Reduced Environmental Impact: Delivery drones have a smaller carbon footprint than traditional delivery vehicles, as they use less energy and emit fewer greenhouse gases. This can help companies reduce their environmental impact and meet regulatory sustainability requirements.
- Reduced risk for delivery workers: Delivery drones can help reduce risks for delivery workers such as traffic accidents. Drones can also help avoid human errors such as incorrect deliveries or delays.
2. Robotic delivery
Delivery robots are autonomous vehicles used to transport packages from a fixed location to the customer's home, among other things. They can be programmed to follow predefined routes and deliver packages autonomously. Robotic delivery is an emerging technology that is beginning to be used in some locations in Canada. For example, some meal delivery companies have begun using autonomous robots to deliver meals in some Canadian cities, including Toronto and Vancouver. However, a company wishing to engage in this type of innovative delivery must comply with several regulations put in place by the provincial and federal governments.
Despite these requirements, there are several potential benefits to robotic delivery. Here are the main ones:
- Speed and efficiency: Delivery robots can move faster than human delivery drivers and can make multiple deliveries at once, increasing delivery efficiency.
- Lower cost: Delivery robots can make deliveries without the need for salary, insurance or other benefits, which significantly reduces operating costs.
- Safety: They can also prevent traffic accidents and cargo theft. They are also equipped with cameras and other sensors to ensure the safety of pedestrians and other road users.
- Convenient: Delivery robots can deliver packages 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means customers can receive their orders at any time.
- Environmentally friendly: For example, they are powered by rechargeable electric batteries, making them more environmentally friendly than traditional delivery vehicles that run on gasoline.
3. Autonomous vehicle delivery
Autonomous vehicles are an emerging technology with many opportunities in a variety of sectors, including freight delivery. In Canada, there are several companies and initiatives currently working on the development of autonomous vehicle delivery. In particular, Transport Canada has allowed some organizations to test autonomous vehicles on Canadian roads. It is important to note that Canadian road safety and transportation regulations are strict, which may restrict the deployment of autonomous vehicle delivery. However, there is growing interest in this technology and progress is constantly being made to meet regulatory requirements.
The implementation of autonomous vehicle delivery solutions could have several benefits. The main ones are:
- Reduced costs and labor requirements: Autonomous vehicles can operate without a driver, reducing labor and training costs. They can also be operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, increasing delivery efficiency.
- Improved efficiency: Autonomous vehicles can optimize their route in real time based on traffic conditions, enabling faster and more efficient delivery. They can also carry heavier loads than traditional delivery vehicles.
- Flexibility: Autonomous vehicles can be used to transport a wide range of products. Autonomous vehicles can also be used to deliver packages to remote or underserved areas.
- Environmentally friendly: Autonomous vehicles can be powered by alternative energy sources such as electricity, making them more environmentally friendly than traditional delivery vehicles that run on fossil fuel.
4. Home delivery by local people
Companies can hire people who live nearby to make short-distance deliveries to a customer's home. This is a more affordable alternative to delivery by a traditional carrier. In fact, more and more applications allow you to search through a pool of individuals offering delivery with their vehicles or even their personal bikes.
- Personalization: Local couriers can provide a personalized delivery service, meeting the specific needs of customers. Customers can contact their courier directly to arrange delivery times and other details.
- Local knowledge: Local couriers are often residents of the area, familiar with the streets and neighborhoods. This means they are likely to deliver packages even faster and more efficiently than outside delivery drivers.
- Local economy: Local delivery can help stimulate the local economy by providing jobs for local residents and supporting local businesses.
- Environmentally friendly: Local couriers can use environmentally friendly modes of transportation such as biking or walking, which reduces the carbon footprint of delivery.