As of this writing, the udelv autonomous delivery vehicle has made more than 700 deliveries of groceries, flowers, meals, electronics, and medications. Each product type has its own challenges. Flowers are in vases that might spill. Pharmaceuticals need proof of ownership throughout the whole process. Groceries have cold chain compliance standards.

But no matter the industry, the same expectation must be met for an autonomous vehicle to make a delivery: the customer must be home.


Customers must be home to retrieve their deliveries from an autonomous vehicle.


The next sentence may sound obvious, but it’s important. When a self-driving car makes a delivery, there is no driver to bring the order to the front door. Therefore, someone must be available to come to the car, retrieve the item, and bring it into the home.

To help our customers be available to get their deliveries, we found 3 required steps:


1. Notification/Tracking

Information is power. Unlike traditional delivery cars, autonomous delivery vehicles (ADVs) are computers on wheels. Therefore, customers are notified as to the ADV’s location, are able to track the ADV throughout the journey, and make sure they’re available when the ADV arrives.


An exact ETA and reliable tracking help customers know what to expect.


2. Sharing

In many situations, the customer who ordered the item may not be the one to retrieve it. One spouse might order the groceries while the other is home to accept them. Someone might get a delivery to their office but need a coworker to retrieve the order. So we built a way for customers to share access to their order with friends, which more than doubled our autonomous delivery success rate.


Customers can select friends or neighbor from their contact list and grant them access to a delivery.


3. Scheduling

As a computer on wheels, an autonomous vehicle is capable of excellent customer service- delivering where and when needed. If a customer knows in advance that they won’t be available until 8 pm, they can schedule their delivery for a time that they’ll be home. If they miss a delivery, they’re given a chance to reschedule the order for any time of day, because an autonomous vehicle can deliver as early — or late — as needed.


Easy scheduling is essential for customer convenience in the autonomous age.


In this emerging industry, every delivery is an invaluable customer interaction that teaches how to improve the process. At udelv, we made our first autonomous delivery on January 30, 2018, and have been on a mission of improvement ever since.

Contact to learn more about how autonomous deliveries work for your business.