Research: to what extent are delivery robots already accepted by the Dutch population?

Students of the LDE (Leiden Delft Erasmus) investigated delivery robot Rosie which DAM brought in operation on the Erasmus Campus. The students used Rosie as a case study, but the learning questions they answer also apply to delivery robots at other locations.

With the research, the students wanted to find out what the behavior of people is compared to a delivery robot. Also investigated to what extent the delivery robot on the campus of Erasmus University (and beyond) is accepted.

What questions does the research answer?

Before the project, the students, together with the municipality of Rotterdam and the MRDH (Metropool Region Rotterdam The Hague), suggested a number of specific learning questions. Namely:

  • To what extent can delivery robots be accepted by Dutch residents?
  • How can delivery robots be implemented in the Netherlands?

To answer these two questions, the students also raised a number of sub-questions:

  • How do social demographic characteristics influence the way delivery robots are accepted?
  • Does familiarity with the technology behind delivery robots influence the degree of public acceptance?
  • What are the most promising areas for using delivery robots?
  • How does the price for delivery and delivery distance influence the decision to use delivery robots?

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With a survey and desk research, the students went looking for answers to the above questions. They approached and asked citizens to provide their opinion in the field of delivery robots and collected 200 responses in this way. Based on these responses and various other sources of information, the students came to a number of conclusions.

What about the behavior of people in relation to delivery robots?

Price and distance are important factors

The research shows that the price and distance are important factors for the use and success of delivery robots. Demand decreases with an increase in price. And with a greater distance, demand increases. The price that someone wants to pay for delivery depends on the distance that the robot has to bridge.

The following advice came from this conclusion: ensure that the distance that robots travel in outdoor areas is not too short, so that people acknowledge its usefulness.

People accept robots faster if they see their operation in practice

What the research further shows is that citizens accept the robots faster if they are the effect of the robot in practice. To find out to what extent the robots also work at other locations, the students recommend investigating the robots at different locations in practice, such as industrial sites and buildings with lifts.

More research is needed to generalize findings

Unfortunately, it was not possible to draw a hard conclusion about which social and demographic target groups do or do not accept the robots. The current population has not been diverse enough for that: students in particular participated in the research.

Where the research showed a number of important conclusions, even more research is needed to generalize the findings for all citizens in the Netherlands.

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