This is how your deliveries might arrive in the 2020s

The Face guide to the 2020s: Robot “dogs” that drop off parcels, hyperloops and a plane that can travel at three times the speed of sound.

Hi, and welcome to the future: a toasty-warm, carbon-neutral, plastic-free place where your face has replaced your passport and your car drives itself. Weed is legal, alcohol is hangover-free, weekends last three days and we robots do your admin. We can dream.

Ten long years ago, The Face compiled a set of predictions for the coming decade from a star chamber of hotshot experts. That flesh-and-blood editorial team has long since disbanded but their legacy remains. From now until the first day of the new decade we’re sharing some prognostications (as seen in The Face Volume 4 Issue 002) on love, sex, space, AI, cannabis, mental health and plastic surgery (and more) for the years ahead.

Matthew Griffin (Chief executive of the 311 Institute)

Deliveries in the 2020s may well happen like this: an autonomous van will enter a neighbourhood and then swarms of drones will emerge to deliver packages over the last mile – although Ford, for example, is looking into using robot dogs’ instead of drones.

It’s important to note that more and more products will be able to be 3D-printed locally and/​or at home. So new manufacturing techniques will eventually impact and reduce, or even eliminate, our need to move certain goods around.

In terms of new technologies, when we look at regional and intercontinental logistics, there are hyperloops. These are transportation systems where people and goods are loaded into pods and propelled through a steel cylinder at super-high speeds. The first hyperloop should arrive in 2021 or 2022 in Dubai. 

The Mach 3 T‑Flight prototype – a plane that can travel at three times the speed of sound – will be trialled in 2025, with the first commercial rides taking place in 2030

We also have Mach 27 rocket-based intercontinental logistics arriving – something that SpaceX and the US military will start trialling in 2022. But obviously, in the beginning, this type of transportation will be niche and very expensive. 

We will also see the introduction of new uni-modal’ transportation technologies, such as Next: a single pod that takes people – and goods – from door-to-door without having to switch from one type of transportation system to another.

In the next decade our shopping habits will also become more personal and we will be able to increasingly use artificial intelligence to design our clothes and have them printed off in the back of a high-street store, or in an Amazon warehouse – something that has already appeared. 

As AI becomes embedded in all sorts of environments, and as manufacturing processes improve and democratise, brands’ abilities to create increasingly tailored, personal, single-unit runs will increase.”


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