Measuring sustainability in an Austin-based start-up

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Wedel, Steven J.

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New technology is key to creating a sustainable future, and start-ups are crucial to creating new technology. Here we examine an Austin based payload transportation start- up, Tubular Network, to determine if it produces less emissions than other payload delivery systems. Delivery drones have been proven in theory as sustainable alternatives to industry standards for first- and last-mile delivery, and Tubular Network is expected to have the same results. Data from independently conducted experiments was used to compare which delivery system, delivery drones or Tubular Network shuttles, is more sustainable, and a better option for the future. Results indicate that while both options are more sustainable than current industry standards, the drones performed slightly more efficiently than the Tubular Network shuttles and had advantages in movement flexibility leading to delivery drones being a better last-mile solution. However, the delivery drones could only carry a fraction of the weight that the Tubular Network shuttle can carry and thus are not as good an option for scaled growth and varying parcel weight, making Tubular Network a better option for first-mile transportation. Both drones and Tubular Network are deemed better delivery solutions option and are expected to decrease emissions.


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