April 9, 2018 (RARC-WP-18-005)
- 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. Major retailers and logistics operators are funding research that banks on the technology’s promise to lower costs and increase operational efficiency while improving labor conditions for delivery people.
In order to understand how the public might react to postal delivery robots, the OIG administered an online survey targeting a nationally representative sample of residents 18-75 years old in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in late November and early December 2017. The goal was to gauge public perception of delivery robot technology for two different applications: self-guided robots that would independently deliver to recipients, and self-guided robots that would follow delivery people to help them complete their work.
To help different audiences find information most useful for them, the reporting for this project has been divided into three shorter, separate products: