Automated delivery cashes in on pandemic-driven demand

Investors over the past seven months have pumped at least $6 billion into more than two dozen companies involved in autonomous delivery of goods and food, from drones to heavy trucks, according to a Reuters analysis.

The bulk of that investment – more than $4 billion since January – has flowed to big, late-stage companies such as Waymo and Didi Chuxing that are automating both ride and delivery services.

Automated sidewalk delivery robots have drawn lots of ink, but little recent investment. Still, more and more cities and companies are trying them out.

Christopher Bruno, head of the Fairfax, Virginia, economic development office, rushed to get Starship sidewalk robots on the street as soon as the coronavirus pandemic shut down the city.