Audi acquires Silvercar. SoftBank earmarks billions for Didi, Grab. 777-size delivery drones.
We first analyzed startups in the delivery robot space last June, and since then questions around regulations, range/capacity, and large-scale feasibility have not dulled the excitement surrounding the field.
New developments and announcements have been flowing nonstop from corporations and startups alike. Amazon, whose Prime Air was the original catalyst for aerial delivery drone hype, made the first public US flight of its system this week. European aerospace giant Airbus also laid out plans for its first parcel drone trial.
Larger drone delivery concepts are emerging too, with Natilus releasing pictures of its Boeing 777-scale aircraft this week.
Another area we examined last summer, driverless shuttles and buses, has made strides as of late. Here as well, large corporations are joining the fray, with Yahoo Japan investing $4.4M in SoftBank’s SB Drive autonomous bus project this week.
Increased automation and new ownership models will enable (and perhaps necessitate) new vehicle models; these concepts in particular might pair with fixed-route on-demand transport services like Chariot (acquired by Ford) and Lyft‘s Shuttle (just announced).
Beyond these players, there are a number of stealth startups working within the driverless shuttle space, so stay tuned for more.