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WHAT will the delivery van of the future look like? Not a lot different from now – but it may not have a driver.

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Continental showed how a driverless vehicle could be used to stage and deploy delivery robots, taking packages all the way to the consumer – even when they’re not able to physically receive them.

The integration of a driverless vehicle – in this case, the Continental Urban Mobility Experience (CUbE) – and a delivery robot present a more effective and efficient distribution of goods.

The CUbE, Continental’s autonomous electrified development platform, is generally considered as a solution for urban “first or last mile” mobility. This type of vehicle – often referred to as a robo-taxi or pod – will be a part of the seamless mobility value chain.

The purpose of these vehicles will be extended to goods delivery to further utilise the available transport capacity and reduce idle times. Market estimations show that the need to transport goods will even outpace the strongly growing need for people transport in densely populated areas.

Goods and parcel delivery to residential areas is a growing and dynamic market, driven by e-commerce sales that are increasing every year. With the growth of this segment, delivery cost per hour is gaining importance.

This positions last mile and delivery services as a differentiator. Automated goods delivery is forecasted to provide an answer for up to 80 percent of all business-to-consumer deliveries, according to multiple research sources.

Continental views automated goods delivery as an integral part of future urban mobility as an addition to conventional goods delivery. The CUbE can carry one or multiple delivery robots and deploy them to handle the last yards of the goods and parcel delivery logistics chain.

Driverless vehicles will represent a very important element in the Smart Cities of the future. They are considered by many experts as a key element of future mobility concepts to solve the challenges of the urbanisation.

A driverless vehicle can be in use almost 24/7. Innovative city planners see driverless vehicles as a valuable addition to public mass transport by eliminating the need for a privately owned car to get to the nearest point of access to other means of transport.

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