Innovations and Start-ups: Autonomous Vehicles, Robots, Tunnels and More…

Martijn Graat
Martijn Graat

With the Netherlands still in lockdown, I have been working at home all week. I was getting tired of it, but this was a week of snow, and it was ending with a few days of sunshine. Great to be working from home, after all! Instead of being in traffic, I get to take walks in the sun and the snow with our dog. And Rotterdam looks great, covered in snow! 

Please find my highlights of the news this week on logistics start-ups and innovations below. Follow @LogisticsMatter on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest news and the best background stories.

Baby, You Can Drive My Car (by The Beatles)

The pandemic is increasing the need for parcel delivery. One solution that can be used to deliver parcels is the autonomous vehicle. One of the many autonomous vehicle startups has raised an additional $100 million to further improve its autonomous vehicle tech. It is saying its vehicles have been used for the delivery of over 15,000 packages of food and health kits. 

Stuck in the Middle With You (by Stealers Wheel)

Scott Ruffin, who has previously been responsible for building out Amazon’s home delivery network, has now founded a new company. With Pandion, he wants to solve the middle mile. The middle mile is that part of a parcel’s journey where it has left the warehouse but is not yet in the delivery vehicle taking it to its final destination. He wants to create sorting centres spread across the United States, which can then be used to speed up the delivery process for big retailers. 

More Than Words (by Extreme)

What3words and Google are both solving problems that have to do with something you probably have but billions of people on earth don’t: an address. Both are taking a different approach, and both solutions are used in different ways.

Robot Rock (by Daft Punk)

One of my personal favourites when it comes to startups was also in the news again this week: Starship. I love the look of their robots and the simplicity of their concept. They have raised another 17 million dollars to further advance and further expand their autonomous delivery robots. I actually encountered one myself when I was in Washington, DC, a few years ago.

Tunnel of Love (by Bruce Springsteen)

Elon Musk and his The Boring Company (which makes me smile every time I see the name) have told the Mayor of Miami that he could dig a two-mile tunnel under the city for only 30 million dollars. He also said he would take six months to do it. The original calculations for the project done by local transit officials were 1 billion dollars and four years. Tunnels can solve the pressure on urban traffic by letting large flows of traffic pass under instead of moving through the cities that have countless intersections.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours (by Stevie Wonder)

Many start-ups have tried to solve the problem of last-mile delivery. Swedish start-up Budbee continues to successfully expand its delivery service in Europe. Budbee is a fossil-free delivery company operating with cargo bikes, electric vehicles, and vehicles operating on vegetable oil. They combine these sustainable modes of transport with smart technology like artificial intelligence to optimize routes. Apart from sustainability, the most important factor for Budbee is customer service. Customers can change the desired delivery time of their parcel up until 1 pm every day. Because of this, Budbee is able to achieve a 97% successful delivery on the first try. Their focus on customer service stems from the belief that in the future, customers will be able to select what company will deliver their package.

Header image: picture taken by me

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