Google plans to use self-driving cars for same-day delivery

Google's self-driving car

Looks like Google is gearing up to make online shopping play up instant satisfaction even more by employing driverless cars to pull off same-day delivery.

At the moment we can usually get stuff delivered to our door within 24 hours of placing an order. But Google, as well as other companies like Walmart, Amazon, eBay, and the United States Postal Service, find this 24-hour turnover to be positively primitive (our words, not there’s). So to remedy the situation, each company has been toying with the idea of implementing same-day shipping. We don’t need to tell you how awesome that would be.

Google has managed to get this up-and-running in San Francisco, though it’s currently only available to Google employees and their friends and family. Google’s approach is unique in more ways than one as it doesn’t rely on warehouses for storing goods. Rather Google plans to create partnerships with retailers and delivery companies that already carry the items. According to the New York Times, there are a number of San Francisco retailers (including nation-wide chain stores) that have already signed up.

Of course, Google’s same-day delivery service is further set apart by the technology it plans to use: self-driving cars. It’s ingenius really. There are no drivers and therefore products can be delivered at any time, night or day. Bonus points if Google decides to use electric cars for the service.

Logistically, the driverless car would deliver an item to your home and once it was confirmed you retrieved the device, the car would drive off to its next destination. There would have to be some sort of system in place to account for customers that aren’t home for the delivery, but that’s up to Google to figure out.

The benefit to customers is obvious, same-day delivery means no more annoying trips to Walmart or waiting for items ordered online. However, as the New York Times points out, this delivery system will probably have a devastating effect on physical retailers, which rely on the advantage of people being able to take products home the day they are purchased.

But for Google, same-day shipping could be the leg up it needs to push past Amazon in the digital world and take charge advertising revenue it loses when people use Amazon for their shopping. If the searching, purchasing, and delivery is all handled by Google then the whole process can be monetized through advertising.

What do you think? Is this too much power for one company to wield? Or are you looking forward to same-day delivery, regardless of which company spearheads the movement?


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