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How autonomous delivery startups navigate post-pandemic policies, partnerships and operations – TechCrunch


We launched This year’s TC Sessions: Mobility with a conference featuring three leading players in the field of autonomous delivery. Gatik Co-Founder and Chief Engineer Apeksha Kumavat, Amy Jones Satrom, Nuro Operations Manager, and Starship Technologies Co-Founder and CTO Ahti Heinla joined us to discuss their company’s unique approaches to the category. .

The trio discussed government regulations for autonomous driving, partnerships with big companies like Walmart and Domino’s and the pandemic’s continued impact on interest in the space.

The pandemic effect

Delivery is one of the myriad categories that have been deeply impacted by COVID-19. Interest in autonomous delivery has grown, but will it be a permanent radical change? Or will things go downhill when life gets back to normal?

Kumavat: Even before the pandemic hit, this whole e-commerce trend was already on the rise. No one wants their deliveries to be made after a week or two. Everyone expects them to be done on the same day, as well as curbside pickup options. There were already rising expectations for e-commerce and on-demand deliveries even before the pandemic hit. After March 2020, what we have seen is a huge increase in this trajectory. (Timestamp: 1:55)

Jones Satrom: When you think about the number of trips a consumer would take just for shopping, that’s about 40% of the trips they would take. They now have habits around this stuff. It saves time for the consumer. We see these trends continuing and we see people keeping ordering online and wanting to be able to get things when they want. (Timestamp: 8:39)



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