Masterthesis: Robot delivery on the last mile

Current society
Today’s society makes more demands on their deliveries than before, people need their goods faster and are more interested in sustainability. Customer expectations have risen and therefore new technologies are needed to deal with this. Some emerging technologies in recent years may help to meet these new high demands. Delivery robots could probably be one of the new technologies that could be used more frequently in the coming years.

The market size of delivery robots worldwide was $11.9 million in 2018 and is expected to grow to $34 million in 2024. This means that the market size will almost triple. According to research, the total retail share is expected to be 20 percent online by 2025.

This was reason enough to carry out research into the implementation of delivery robots for the ‘last mile’. This research was carried out by Tim Klein, for his study International Master of Supply Chain Management, commissioned by The Future Mobility Network (FMN). Parallel to the research, FMN is running a project to actually implement these delivery robots via the hink-step jump. In this way, our learning by doing approach will be complemented with scientific research.

On the campus of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) a use case (pilot phase) has been created in which risk management must be carried out for the on-campus and also for robot deliveries on the public road. Once this use case has been carried out on the campus, the delivery of robot food can be extended to the public road. Before this is the case, Supply Chain Network Design (SCND) has been performed on campus to map the possible routes that will be driven by these robots during the use case.

Tim’s research resulted in recommendations regarding risk management, robot routing and delivery density. All in all, very valuable research results for the implementation of the trial. For more information about this research, please contact his supervisor at FMN: Redouan Bokhezzou.

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