Startup Ottonomy maps out a shift into curbside, last-mile deliveries


Ashok Divakaran, Deloitte’s connected and autonomous vehicles leader, said the future business case for ADRs is very viable, considering how the technology could reduce last-mile labor costs.

“There are other benefits, including enabling a continued shift towards e-commerce, COVID-fueled demand for contactless delivery, reduction of pollution and congestion in dense areas, and the potential for customizable ‘on-demand’ delivery,” Divakaran said.

Vijay said Ottonomy is well positioned to play a major role in last-mile solutions because of its unique ADR technology.

“One of the unique features of the technology is that, one, it is autonomous right from day one, so we have the complete suite of an autonomous car, including 3D lidars, multiple cameras and safety sensors — and all of that is running on edge hardware on these robots,” he said. “The second thing is that these robots can do both indoor and outdoor navigation so seamlessly.”

Divakaran believes that the success of delivery robots will be driven by mastering the most complex use cases, mechanics of delivery and navigation, and supporting infrastructure.

He said the ability to master complex use cases for ADRs in dense urban areas is one of the most pivotal obstacles to the wider adoption of the technology.

“This scenario raises the bar to be able to deal with heavy traffic, complex driving conditions, etc.,” said Divakaran. “This correspondingly increases the risks, as well as the level of tech maturity [primarily the AI] needed, not unlike that of a full-blown autonomous passenger vehicle. Paradoxically, it is the more complex use cases that also provide the greatest value proposition.”



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