The transport of small items (piece goods, baggage and parcels) is significantly increasing due to a growing demand in online trade. Today’s delivery services are relatively inflexible with regard to their customers’ needs (e.g.: personal presence at the delivery address or a personal pickup at a store is required) and are therefore little customer-friendly, but also inefficient due to several necessary attempted deliveries.
By means of a future integrated system for autonomous transport of small items the total volume of traffic is to be massively reduced despite growing needs of transport. At the same time the mobility of people is to be promoted through a development of a public freight transport system. For example, people may have their small items of any kind transported instead of transporting them themselves in their car. Thus, a kind of public freight transport system is installed parallel to public people transport. In order to be able to implement such an objective the research project smartBOX comprises the conception of the following system components:
- Conception of a standardized reusable container with integrated intelligence controlling, timing and navigating transports and enabling user-safe access (“smartBOX”).
- Development of a pool system for availability, management and controlling of public smartBOX-transport units from B2B and B2C by using electronic tracking & tracing methods as well as internet-based communication technologies (“Internet of Things”, GPS navigation, M2M “machine-to-machine communication etc.).
- Conception of vandalism-protected pickup and dispatch terminals for a comprehensive use at hotspots of public space or at private residential areas as well as the adaptation of goods collection points (e.g.: expedit,... ) from B2B (“smartTERMINAL”)
- Conception of a comprehensive transport service and intermodal multi-channel transport system autonomously identifying and bundling transport needs to avoid multiple journeys to consumers.
- Conception of IT-functionality focussing on transparency and access security of data under the premise of decentral autonomous subsystems.
- Conception of a business model enabling cheapest and distance dependent transport prices covering costs of service providers and compatible to systems of previous service providers.
The result of the research project smartBOX is a clear definition of all requirements (in particular of users), of technical and economic possibilities, and of the actual feasibility of a vision of an intelligent freight mobility system. It serves as basis for a subsequent implementation project.