The ‘final mile’ of delivery is known as both the most complex and the most expensive. While shipping between warehouses is efficient, getting packages to its final destination is more tricky due to a minefield of labor costs, shared data and complex logistics.
More and more companies are tackling the ‘final mile’ conundrum with a range of services including an ‘e-cargo bike’ from Volkswagen. Renault also showed it has ideas about how to overcome this essential problem by unveiling an autonomous delivery vehicle in Hanover yesterday.
Renault sees EZ-PRO concept as integral to smart cities
EZ-PRO is an autonomous, electric, connected and shared robo-pod concept that Renaults says is the ‘the future of agile, last-mile delivery solutions for every type of professional.’
"Renault EZ-PRO shows our vision of last-mile delivery integrated with the ecosystem of smart cities of tomorrow and the needs of professionals. This concept is a solution that would unlock countless opportunities for our various partners, such as we’re showing today with DPD Group, Lomi Coffee, Piper-Heidsieck and Patrick Roger,” said Ashwani Gupta, Alliance Senior Vice President, LCV.
Human logistics manager oversees fleets of driverless pods
The EZ-PRO concept revolves around a suite of autonomous pods, divided into two classes; autonomous leader pod and driverless robo-pods.
The EZ-PRO leader pods have a human conductor on board, responsible for the delivery of goods and of maintaining the pod fleet.
This logistics manager will be free from driving duties and so can focus on an efficient handover of goods to their final destination, paying particular attention to goods that require particular traffic conditions. EZ-PRO’s fleet of driverless pods can be organized to move independently or in a caravan.
These pods are fully customizable so they can suit the needs of large last mile logistics handlers to smaller tradespeople and entrepreneurs. With EZ-PRO, we continue our exploratory work around urban shared mobility of the future.
Focused on delivery solutions, this autonomous, connected and electric concept represents the ideal tool, being both a creator of opportunity for professionals and a facilitator of services for all its users, direct or indirect.
It is based on Renault's expertise in commercial vehicles and on the brand's DNA, which places people at the heart of its solutions." said Laurens van den Acker, Senior Vice President, Groupe Renault Corporate Design.
The EZ-PRO concept is designed to reduce polluting and wasteful traffic in urban areas. According to the French carmaker, the last mile delivery makes up 30% of traffic in cities contributing significantly to air and visual pollution.
The EZ-PRO pods are designed with new urban aesthetics in mind, developed to both blend in with urban landscapes as well as to point easy to identify markers for pickup and drop off.
Autonomous deliveries improve urban areas
Autonomous vehicles will go some way to minimizing city obstructions caused by traditional last mile delivery such as traffic jams, poor parking dangerous driving.
Renault envisages the pods working as both a point to point delivery service and as a pickup point for domestic parcels.
Customers can seamlessly interact with selected pods to take delivery of their goods at a time and place most convenient to them. EZ-PRO is just the latest in a series of last mile concepts dreamed up by big players in the EV market. It will be interesting to see who can make their system come to market the quickest and what changes a fully autonomous delivery system would make on urban environments.