Comparison of in-sight and handheld navigation devices toward supporting industry 4.0 supply chains: First and last mile deliveries at the human level

Last (and First) mile deliveries are an increasingly important and costly component of supply chains especially those that require transport within city centres. With reduction in anticipated manufacturing and delivery timescales, logistics personnel are expected to identify the correct location (accurately) and supply the goods in appropriate condition (safe delivery). Moving towards more environmentally sustainable supply chains, the last/first mile of deliveries may be completed by a cyclist courier which could result in significant reductions in congestion and emissions in cities. In addition, the last metres of an increasing number of deliveries are completed on foot i.e. as a pedestrian. Although research into new technologies to support enhanced navigation capabilities is ongoing, the focus to date has been on technical implementations with limited studies addressing how information is perceived and actioned by a human courier. In the research reported in this paper a comparison study has been conducted with 24 participants evaluating two examples of state-of-the-art navigation aids to support accurate (right time and place) and safe (right condition) navigation. Participants completed 4 navigation tasks, 2 whilst cycling and 2 whilst walking. The navigation devices under investigation were a handheld display presenting a map and instructions and an in-sight monocular display presenting text and arrow instructions. Navigation was conducted in a real-world environment in which eye movements and device interaction were recorded using Tobii-Pro 2 eye tracking glasses. The results indicate that the handheld device provided better support for accurate navigation (right time and place), with longer but less frequent gaze interactions and higher perceived usability. The in-sight display supported improved situation awareness with a greater number of hazards acknowledged. The benefits and drawbacks of each device and use of visual navigation support tools are discussed.