Explosive growth in e-commerce has spawned a new generation of transportation options designed expressly for navigating and delivering packages in dense city neighborhoods.
With few exceptions, the latest offerings hew to the connected, autonomous, shared and electric vision that startups and OEMs alike have defined as the future of urban mobility.
Here’s a sampling of cargo bikes, mailboxes for drone deliveries and other cool stuff from the CES 2020 cargo transportation display.
- Self-balancing e-cargo bike, by MEASY
Italy’s e-Novia made a big splash this year, showcasing several startups from the Milan-based business incubator.
Apart from the stylish retro design (because Italy), this e-cargo bike, by one such startup, MEASY, stands out for its self-balancing platform. The system compensates for sideways movement by automatically moving its load to the opposite side. Anti-lock brakes prevent skidding after sudden stops in urban traffic.
2. YAPE, delivery robot
Another e-Novia company, YAPE, (“Your Autonomous Pony Express”) displayed a two-wheel vehicle designed to deliver packages on the narrow, cobblestone streets of Old World city centers. Small but mighty, YAPE (shown here lounging in a cargo bike) can carry up to 140 pounds and reach a speed of up to 12 mph.
3. Wello solar-powered electric mobility
Wello, a French company, has designed a sleek (because France) solar electric assist tricycle that converts from passenger to cargo functions simply by pulling down the back seat. Already in use by Le Poste and EDF, the French utility.
4. Toyota e-palette and micro-palette
Multi-modal transportation pairings were out in full force at CES 2020. Toyota’s take, the E-palette and micro-palette robot and autonomous transit offerings, are among the futuristic mobility devices expected to populate the automaker’s new Woven City, a 175-acre hydrogen fuel cell-powered city Toyota seeks to construct at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan.
5. Bell Nexus, robotaxi
Yes, flying taxis at this stage in the game are designed for transporting people, not stuff. Yet according to Morgan Stanley, air taxis, like other autonomous vehicles, will probably first get off the ground ferrying packages, not human beings. Back again after debuting at CES 2019, the Bell Nexus 4EX has a range of 60 miles and can travel 150 mph.
6. Hyundai S-A1 flying taxi
Bell had a competitor this year, the Hyundai S-A1 air taxi, designed in partnership with Uber’s flying taxi division. The model is designed for 200 mph, with a range of about 60 miles.
7. AISIN personal mobility shopper
The tier one automotive supplier AISIN introduced the ILY-Ai, a smart electric mobility vehicle capable of human image recognition (i.e capable of following its owner around like a puppy). Suitable for carrying groceries to and from the store.
A last-mile tech-transport recap wouldn’t be complete without at least one drone offering. This year at CES 2020, drone landing platforms were (almost) as popular as drone companies. The DroneDek smart mailbox, featuring a landing pad mounted on a secure mailbox, is designed explicitly for drone package receiving and storage.