The Office of Inspector General released two reports that look at mail delivery robots by the Postal Service. One report shows a positive public perception for the concept. The other details the numerous applications for postal robots.
Positive Public Perception of Mail Delivery Robots
A large majority of Americans believe delivery robots will be in use within the next five years. Many more say they like delivery robot concepts than dislike them — particularly if the robot will help mail carriers. The ability to receive deliveries when and where recipients choose and their potential to improve working conditions and reduce injuries for delivery people ranked as delivery robots’ biggest benefits.
Delivery robots may seem futuristic, but this next wave of logistics technology is already being tested on neighborhood sidewalks from Washington, D.C. to the German spa town Bad Hersfeld and the Swiss capital Bern …
Autonomous Mobile Robots and the Postal Service
Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) use sensors and navigation technologies to transport goods around an open space without a human controlling them. Different forms of autonomous robots have been used in postal sorting centers for years, to move containers and pallets between sorting machines.
To better understand the technology’s development and identify potential use cases for the Postal Service, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) interviewed robot manufacturers, posts, delivery companies, academics, and other postal stakeholders. Our interviews and research identified a variety of possible applications both in sorting facilities and last mile delivery.
Recent leaps in automation technology have expanded the range and complexity of tasks that robots can perform, making them increasingly suitable for real-world use. Companies like Postmates and Yelp’s Eat24 have been testing robot delivery of food and convenience items in select cities.