I just heard about this company today:
Roadie is the first “on-the-way” delivery service. We put extra space in passenger vehicles to work by connecting people with items to send with drivers heading in the right direction. Our collaborative model enables fast, flexible, low-cost delivery for senders and rewards drivers for trips they were already taking.Roadie works with top retailers, airlines, and grocers to enable a faster, more efficient, and more scalable solution for same-day and last-mile deliveries nationwide. Since our launch in 2015, we’ve delivered everything from cupcakes to couches to more than 11,000 cities — a larger same-day footprint than Amazon Prime.
It's an interesting concept, though it remains to be seen to shareholders whether it is ahead of its time.
Off the bat, it seems like a basic problem with Roadie's model is lack of advance notice about where delivery drivers are going. To illustrate the point, imagine that you own a car and are planning to drive to the other side of town. You have the Roadie app on your phone, and you upload your travel plans to the network to see if anyone wants you to deliver a package that way, and there are no takers. After a few such failures, you decide that spending even two minutes to upload your plans each time you do a significant road trip it isn't worth it. You find it's also hard to remember to use Roadie before each of your trips. Your memory and concentration aren't perfect.
Now, I can imagine how these obstacles would mostly vanish if you had an autonomous car. First, the car would be smart enough to learn your driving routines--that you leave from home at a certain time each weekday to drop your kid off at school, then you drive to work, and then, eight hours later, you do the reverse--and to automatically upload the availability data to the Roadie network. Second, if you did an unscheduled trip, within a second of you entering the destination address, your car could upload your planned driving route to the Roadie network and tell you if there were any opportunities to transport packages or people for profit.
Automation and eliminating that small amount of work will make services like Roadie feasible.