Expert analysis of autonomous technology, and its impact on cities, policy and the economy, by Joann Muller.
Sidewalk delivery robots, a novelty for now, are multiplying: FedEx is joining Amazon, Starship Technologies and others with plans to unleash an army of bots for deliveries.
Why it matters: Autonomous vehicles are typically envisioned on streets but small delivery robots could outnumber U.S. taxis in 20 years, KPMG says. This could help relieve congestion on roadways but potentially create new headaches for pedestrians.
The big picture: E-commerce is surging, along with consumer expectations for fast, cheap delivery of goods and services. Dispatching small bots for nearby runs, instead of traditional vehicles with a driver, could make delivery practically free, at 4 to 7 cents per mile, according to KPMG.
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