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Last Mile Delivery Automation

Automation and robotics are finally creating solutions for the complexities of doorstep deliveries.

Overview

How droids, drones, and ADVs automate last-mile delivery

Last-mile delivery (LMD) covers the process of transporting products from a distribution center—usually a retail store or warehouse—to the end consumer. This process has become increasingly automated due to the introduction of robots and autonomous vehicles into the supply chain, allowing companies to distribute goods with reduced labor and costs while improving efficiency. Furthermore, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, delivery options that limit the risk of contamination through human contact have become a priority.

What's driving this industry?
Market Sizing

The US addressable market for droids and ADVs worth USD 18-60 billion by 2040

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COVID-19 IMPACT

  • Given that automation methods are pre-designed to minimize human involvement in the delivery of goods, LMD automation has emerged as a vital tool to fulfill social distancing and contactless delivery.

  • There has been a surge of demand for LMD automation, which will continue to be especially strong while the Covid-19 outbreak continues to impact the economy.

  • Starships, Nuro, Kiwibot, Robby, and Zipline are among the LMD automation operators to start Covid-19 driven operations.

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Market Mapping


There are two general categories of companies that are adopting automated LMD services: those that partner with startups and those that develop the technology internally. Because most companies are logistics companies and not technology companies, most of those that have chosen to develop the product themselves have outsourced the majority of the process to third parties.

Incumbents
Growth
Early
Seed
Pre-Seed
ADVs
?
Droids
?
Drones
?
International
International
International
FedEx
Google
Walmart
General Motors
Ford
Hyundai
Aurora Innovation
TELEGRID Technologies
Oxbotica
Ocado
Nuro
Wayve
REE Automotive
Pix Moving
Goggo Network
ThorDrive
Boxbot
Academy of Robotics
Robomart
Cleveron
Udelv
Motional
Spring Mobility
Faction Technology
StreetDrone
Whale Dynamic
FedEx
Amazon
Hyundai
Piaggio
Yandex
Magna International
Starship Technologies
Agility Robotics
Serve Robotics
Kiwibot
Refraction AI
Cartken
Coco Robotics
Pix Moving
Goggo Network
ANYbotics
Teraki
Tortoise
Aitonomi TeleRetail
Robby Technologies
Ottonomy IO
Yape
Hosted Kitchens
Delivers AI
Eliport
Bedestrian
Synkar Autonomous
Tiny Mile
Carbon Origins
Nova Dynamics
LMAD
TwinswHeel
Segway Robotics
Imperium Drive
Unsupervised AI
Dianomix Inc.
Bizero
FedEx
Amazon
UPS
Google
Walmart
Royal Mail
AgEagle
Yum! Brands
Draganfly
Zipline
Wingcopter
Flytrex
Matternet
SkyDrop (Flirtey)
Drone Delivery Canada
Avy
Volansi
Elroy Air
Skyports
Manna Drone Delivery
Dronamics
Pablo Air
DroneUp
Gadfin
DroneDek
Valqari
Deuce Drone
Target Arm
Skycart
Zing Drone Delivery
A2Z Drone Delivery
Aerit
Bella Wings Aviation
MissionGo
InDro Robotics
Malloy Aeronautics
Skyfarer
Cando Drones
MightyFly
Sentinel Delivery
Aevum

The Disruptors


A handful of early-stage companies are at the forefront of developing technology for droids and ADVs, and they are predominantly located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Most of the companies received their initial funding in 2016 and 2017, and a flurry of partnerships have been announced since 2018.

Nuro is, by far, the largest and most well-funded company in the last mile delivery automation space and ADV segment with a total of USD 1.5 billion in funding. Ree Automotive is another prominent ADV startup, listed via a SPAC that raised USD 500 million in February 2021. Other startups in the ADV segment are much smaller, topping out at USD 10 million or less.

The drone segment has the highest number of distributors of any segment. Collectively, they’ve raised around USD 728 million as of August 2021. Zipline leads the segment in terms of funding with USD 483 million raised. Most of these companies are yet to reach commercial-scale operations with only Zipline operating as a growth-stage business. Other prominent startups in the space include Matternet, Flytrex, and Flirtey which are all in the early stages of operations.

A considerable number of disruptors cater to the droid segment as well, having collectively raised more than USD 192 million as of August 2021. Starship Technologies, with approximately USD 100 million raised in funding as of August 2021, is the most prominent startup in the droid segment and one of the first companies to commercially test a working droid.

ADVs

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
REE Automotive
Public - Market cap USD 293.4 mn
Nuro
2132
Wayve
457
Pix Moving
30
Goggo Network
27
Boxbot
18
Udelv
Unknown
Watchlist
?
ThorDrive
Faction Technology
Academy of Robotics
StreetDrone
Robomart
Cleveron
Whale Dynamic
Motional
Spring Mobility

Droids

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Starship Technologies
198
Agility Robotics
179
Coco Robotics
42
Pix Moving
30
Goggo Network
27
Serve Robotics
23
ANYbotics
22
Teraki
16
Kiwibot
14
Tortoise
11
Refraction AI
11
Watchlist
?
Aitonomi TeleRetail
Robby Technologies
Ottonomy IO
Yape
Imperium Drive
Hosted Kitchens
Delivers AI
Eliport
Bedestrian
Unsupervised AI
Cartken
Synkar Autonomous
Tiny Mile
Dianomix Inc.
Carbon Origins
Nova Dynamics
LMAD
TwinswHeel
Bizero
Segway Robotics

Drones

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Drone Delivery Canada
Public - Market cap USD 73.8 mn
Zipline
491
Volansi
75
Wingcopter
66
Flytrex
60
Elroy Air
56
Skyports
34
Matternet
31
Manna Drone Delivery
30
Dronamics
17
SkyDrop (Flirtey)
16
Watchlist
?
Pablo Air
DroneUp
Gadfin
DroneDek
Valqari
Deuce Drone
Skyfarer
Target Arm
Skycart
Zing Drone Delivery
Cando Drones
MightyFly
A2Z Drone Delivery
Sentinel Delivery
Aevum
Aerit
Bella Wings Aviation
MissionGo
InDro Robotics
Avy
Malloy Aeronautics

REE Automotive

REE Automotive offers four-wheeled, customizable electric self-driving chassis platforms. The company is based in Israel and planned to open its North American headquarters in Texas. Its “REEcorner” technology platform integrates all drive components into the arch of the wheel while the flat, modular chassis can be used as a battery or fuel cell-powered vehicle. Its technology is used in autonomous delivery trucks, shuttles, and robotaxis. The Israeli company offers the products in five different models with varying carrying capacities and speed limits for a broad range of purposes, including last-mile delivery, mobility-as-a-service, mid-mile delivery, and medium-duty delivery, among others. In November 2021, REE Automotive unveiled a fully autonomous modular EV concept vehicle dubbed “Leopard,” pitched toward purposes like last-mile delivery. It has a cargo volume of 180 cubic feet, and can travel at a maximum speed of 60 mph. Its P7 chassis, primarily designed to accommodate medium-duty commercial vehicles, can travel at a maximum speed of 80 mph, carrying a payload of around 8,800 lbs covering a 370-mile range. The company commenced trials of its P7 in January 2022, with plans to start advanced customer testing of full vehicles in mid-2022. The company offers two vehicle models built on the P7 model—a walk-in van and an electric Class 3 box truck pitched towards mid-mile and last-mile deliveries.

As announced in February 2021, REE Automotive intends to have around 15 assembly plants by 2026 in locations including the US, Germany, and Japan. The manufacturing would take place via a network of OEMs from more than 30 countries, including American Axle, Mahindra, KYB, and then be assembled at its plants. It also aims to begin mass production in 2022 and has signed MOUs for around USD 5.1 billion in orders through 2026. The company has an engineering center in Warwickshire, UK, a facility in Coventry, UK, and plans to build another facility in Austin, Texas in 2023. The company was expected to produce up to 10,000 vehicle sets by end-2022 and double its capacity by 2023.

The company formed several strategic product partnerships including with 1) Magna International, a mobility technology company (April 2021), 2) Hino Motors, a Toyota subsidiary that manufactures commercial vehicles and diesel engines (April 2021), 3) Navya, a French self-driving tech company (April 2021) , 4) American Axle & Manufacturing, a US-based automotive supplier (May 2021; and November 2021), 5) Brembo, a break technology provider to supply braking systems (November 2021), 5) EAVX, a business unit of the commercial automotive and manufacturing goods and services provider JB Poindexter & Co. (July 2021), and 6) Hitachi America (December 2021).  

REE Automotive, listed on Nasdaq since July 2021, went public by merging with the blank-check company in a deal valuing the company at USD 3.6 billion, with USD 500 million provided to the company (announced in February 2021). The company was also awarded a USD 17 million grant from the UK government in August 2021, for commercial production of its REEcorner technology and its modular electric vehicle platforms.

Segment:
ADVs
Total funding:
USD 317.0 million
Competitors:
Pixmoving
Disruptor Funding History

ADVs:

REE Automotive
Nuro
Wayve
Pix Moving
Goggo Network
Boxbot
ThorDrive
Faction Technology
Academy of Robotics
StreetDrone
Robomart
Cleveron
Whale Dynamic

Droids:

Starship Technologies
Agility Robotics
Coco Robotics
Pix Moving
Goggo Network
Serve Robotics
ANYbotics
Teraki
Kiwibot
Tortoise
Refraction AI
Aitonomi TeleRetail
Robby Technologies
Ottonomy IO
Yape
Imperium Drive
Hosted Kitchens
Delivers AI
Eliport
Bedestrian

Drones:

Drone Delivery Canada
Zipline
Volansi
Wingcopter
Flytrex
Elroy Air
Skyports
Matternet
Manna Drone Delivery
Dronamics
SkyDrop (Flirtey)
Pablo Air
DroneUp
Gadfin
DroneDek
Valqari
Deuce Drone
Skyfarer
Target Arm
Skycart
Zing Drone Delivery

Incumbents


There are two main options for offering an automated LMD service for incumbent players in the logistics and delivery space: partner with startups emerging in the space, or develop the technology internally.

Many companies that have chosen to develop their products internally have needed to outsource the majority of the process to third parties, as they are primarily logistics companies or non-tech enterprises and therefore lack the required skills and expertise. For instance, Amazon acquired the autonomous droid company Dispatch to support its droid development and also outsourced US drone development to third-party suppliers, Fedex used DEKA Development & Research Corporation to develop its delivery droid, and Yum! Brands acquired Dragontail Systems to develop their own drone-based delivery solutions.

ADVs
Droids
Drones
In House Development
M&A
Partnership
Investment
FedEx
Amazon
UPS
Google
Walmart
General Motors
Ford
Hyundai
Piaggio
Aurora Innovation
TELEGRID Technologies
Yandex
Royal Mail
Oxbotica
AgEagle
Yum! Brands
Ocado
Draganfly
Magna International
Toyota
Qualcomm
Daimler
Cheetah Mobile
Horizon Robotics
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Sony
Uber

Notable Investors


No investor data is available

Funding data are powered by Crunchbase
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