Around George Mason University Campus, there are white drones with orange flags driving around campus. Those drones are Starship Technology Delivery Robot, which deliver food to students on campus. Currently, companies are trying to improve the delivery systems within their institutions. With the increased technological invention, mobile technology has been revolutionized with certain mobile features that have made it feasible to make delivery robots. Starship Technology Delivery Robot has been launched to offer delivery services to the customers. Consequently, Starship customers are now able to receive on-demand package delivery of food and items using the company’s mobile autonomous robots straight to customer’s doorstep.
Over the years, technology has been used to provide solutions to complex problems facing various sectors around the world. Starship technology has been instrumental in providing solutions to long term delivery problems. The traditional method of delivery was done using delivery vans and bicycles operated by human beings who used a manual system to locate the destination of their potential customers (Pafford, 2018). In addition, prior to the introduction of technology, the traditional delivery method was characterized by package theft, which lowered to the credibility of the delivery system and also resulted in the lack of trust as there was no accountability. In addition, there were delays in the local delivery while the methods used were also considered costly. In response to these challenges, starship technology was launched, thus the use of mobile robots has been instrumental in ensuring faster delivery.
One of the most outstanding benefits of Starship Technology Delivery Robot is that it is faster. Customers are now able to order for food or items and receive them immediately without wasting too much time waiting or moving around to receive them. In addition, Starship Technology Delivery Robot is cost-effective in the sense that the only requirement is for a customer to download the app and pay a monthly subscription of around $10, which makes it the cheapest delivery service in the United States (Stanford business, 2016). The Delivery drone is more reliable since once it is released, there are high chances that it will reach its destination without failure.
The delivery robots are also fitted with an alarm that quickly relays the information regarding any attempt to interfere with them while on transit. The alarm makes the tracking easy and the necessary steps can be taken to ensure that item finally reaches its destination. The technology uses programmed map, GPS, and pedestrian sidewalk on its way to the delivery destination, which this helps it to avoid obstacles (Pafford, 2018). The robot is also fitted with speakers and microphone that enable it to communicate effectively with human workers or pedestrians, which improves its effectiveness. As a result of the invention of drones, the society is expected to benefit from increased efficiency and the reduction of cars that cause pollution.
Delivery robots have been introduced without taking serious security concerns and privacy issues into consideration. The major security concern facing drones is an insecure connection since a number of delivery robots depend on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless protocol to access the internet (Clark, Doran, & Andel, n.d). In most cases, these methods of connection are insecure and can result in a loss of data or complicate how data is transmitted. The poor encryption method associated with connection methods also allows anybody to get access to the data and obtain sensitive information necessary to perform an attack or cause harm. In addition, the robotic system is installed on the computer and computer-related machines hence are majorly exposed to the threats of cyber-attack. The main cause of cyber-attack is attributed to insecure communication between robots and users, which gives hackers the capability to hack into the insecure communication link at any time.
Another security concern is that user authentication is not strict despite the fact that only authorized users should have the capability to deliver command and control it. In many cases, there are no strict authentication measures employed since users do not necessarily have to log in or verify their identity to interact with these devices (Clark, Doran, & Andel, n.d). In some cases where is no authentication, it is easy to hack the robot vacuum and interfere with the normal operation of the robot.
Just like mobile phones, there is a growing concern that people will grow social attachment with the delivery robots in the long run. The tendency to develop an emotional bond with the drones is considered one of the major social problems the delivery drones present to humans. Nitto, Taniyama, and Inagaki (2017) state that there are high chances that being emotional about robots is likely to interfere with another social aspect of life, such as social interaction and fostering of human relationship. Bascelli (2018) argue that there is also poor interaction and communication between drones and people since they are complicated to understand. The communication with robots is only one way because customers are unable to seek for clarification by asking questions, therefore, there is a lack of social interaction.
Legal and Ethical Issues
The legal issue that has dominated the introduction of the delivery robots is whether the robot should have the same legal rights as the pedestrians on the walkways. The critics of the Starship delivery drones argue that they congest the pedestrian pathway thus a present hazard to humans. There is also a legal issue regarding safety and the threat of personal injury that the robot may cause to the pedestrian (Pafford, 2018,). Consequently, some states, such as San Francisco has taken legal steps to outlaw the introduction of delivery robots on the sidewalk.
The major ethical issue related to drones or delivery robot is the lack of security and privacy due to uncertainty surrounding data security. Sensitive information captured and stored in robotic features risk being shared inappropriately, which this is likely to compromise the right to privacy and dignity (Bascelli, 2018). Furthermore, there is a lack of transparency on how the whole system is functioning since this is not clearly clarified to users. The users are not aware of what the robot is capable of doing, especially with the collected data and where else it can be shared.
Further Required Research
Further research should be centered on developing the legal framework and regulation that will facilitate the operation of the delivery robot on the sidewalk. Proper regulation is essential in ensuring smooth operation of the robots, and that any issue arising from the pedestrians or customers are dealt with within the confine of law. The research should also aim to establish how the security feature of the robot can be improved to ensure minimum human interference and maximum data protection to improve efficiency.