Anti-Package Theft Locking System; Improving the Last-Mile: Eliminating Package Theft through Delivery Codesign

Stevens, Jamison, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Ferguson, Sean, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Powell, Harry, EN-Elec/Computer Engr Dept, University of Virginia

Package theft has been increasing since the 1990s, and it has become an increasingly challenging problem to solve with increased in package deliveries. Before the coronavirus pandemic, package theft issues had grown to the point millions of Americans had experienced package theft at some point, and millions of packages were stolen daily. The coronavirus pandemic led to more consumers relying on package deliveries, which left more opportunity for package theft and a corresponding increase in stolen packages. While package deliveries provided safety from the spread of coronavirus, delivery services’ use of unattended package deliveries meant that more thieves targeted the front porches of consumers. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of consumers who had experienced package theft nearly doubled.
The technical thesis introduces a potential solution to the problem of package theft. The prototyped solution included a multi-level security system, where the primary user has an all-access code. This primary user can create one-time access passcodes for delivery drivers to store a package in a secure location, as well as time-limited passcodes for short-term renters, which eliminates the key transfer process. Additionally, the proposed locking system can be integrated into a door, a package box, or a package slot, which gives the user several options for incorporating this system to the last-mile delivery process. This locking system comes with a camera to monitor users who may try to steal a package of break through the lock for another reason. This proposed solution is meant to reduce package visibility and place a roadblock for package thieves trying to steal packages.
The STS Thesis proposes a codesign methodology, where stakeholder groups are engaged in a collaborative design process to discuss the problems faced by each group related to package theft. These stakeholders can then empathize with the other stakeholder groups, propose potential methods to improve the last-mile delivery process, and compromise to create the best possible solution to all stakeholder groups problems. The STS thesis will discuss the problems that each of the groups may face and potential opportunities to engage these stakeholders in a collaborative design process. These stakeholder groups include law enforcement, delivery services, retailers, consumers, and delivery drivers. By bringing in the view points of each of these stakeholders, a better understanding of the problems causing package theft will be developed, which will allow these stakeholder groups to come up with better potential solutions targeted at reducing package theft.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Package Theft, Delivery Services, Porch Piracy, Codesign, Collaborative Design

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
Technical Advisor: Harry Powell
STS Advisor: Sean Ferguson
Technical Team Members: John Chrosniak, AJ Given, Derek Martin

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