FedEx to introduce robots for last mile deliveries
Priya Wadhwa
10x Industry

FedEx to introduce robots for last mile deliveries

RTA has signed an MoU with FedEx for robots to complete last mile deliveries.

One of the biggest pain points of the e-commerce sector is last mile delivery. The number of unreliable variables, hurdles and challenges increase costs for the businesses.

Amazon in the US has been experimenting with drones; a couple of months ago noon partnered with China’s Neolix to bring driverless cars for e-commerce delivery to the UAE; and now Dubai’s RTA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with FedEx to launch autonomous delivery robots called ‘Roxo’ in the emirate.

FedEx’s Roxo will cater to a range of businesses in the UAE, giving them the opportunity to use the robots for last mile deliveries and potentially reduce costs.

Roxo is capable of tackling sidewalks, unpaved surfaces, as well as a few steps, which means that it can potentially be used not only to deliver to villas but also apartment buildings. It is unclear as to how it will tackle floors, as it can easily go into elevators, but cannot press buttons for desired floors. However, it can deliver at the reception level lobby.

The plan for Roxo hasn’t yet been completely disclosed, however, it is known that it Silicon Oasis will be the pilot neighbourhood to test it out.

“This step complements the UAE AI Strategy, Dubai Self-Driving Transport Strategy, and RTA’s first strategic goal: Smart Dubai. Dubai has become a fertile land for cutting-edge technologies of smart mobility thanks to its advanced infrastructure. RTA applauds the announcement move by FedEx to name Dubai as a future test location for Roxo.”
Ahmed Hashim Bahrozyan, CEO of Public Transport Agency

Delivery as well as e-commerce businesses are interested in automating tasks and using machines to reduce operating costs. The industry that is responsible for employing a vast number of people to manage day-to-day last mile deliveries, are bound to bring further innovation to the sector to make last-mile deliveries more economical and sustainable.

While an easy argument would be that the jobs of these delivery personnel will be replaced by machines; on the flip side, automation will allow the same people the opportunity to learn and take on white collar jobs. It has the potential to have a more positive impact on the wider economy.

The MoU between RTA and FedEx was signed under the terms of Dubai’s autonomous transportation strategy, which aims to make 25 percent of road trips in the emirate autonomous by 2030, while reducing traffic and pollution.

Drones are also expected to make an entrance in the UAE following certification and approval from aviation regulators in the UAE. This month, UPS, the international logistics firm also won the approval of the US government to operate a drone airline around hospital campuses.