Deutsche Post DHL has begun testing a new custom-built delivery robot in the German town of Bad Hersfeld, which automatically follows mail workers and carries their postal items. The robot can carry up to six post trays, relieving carriers of their heavy loads. It also frees up the workers’ hands, making it easier for them to distribute the mail.
The PostBOT is based on a robot from French developer Effidence but has been adapted so that it meets the specific needs for transporting letters and packages. The robot can carry loads of up to 150kg (330 lb) and has sensors that track the legs of the mail carrier, so that it follows them automatically along their route.
Its robust design means that the PostBOT can be used in all weather conditions and its control elements have been placed on both sides of the unit to promote good ergonomics for the delivery workers.
The test will initially run for six weeks, followed by a period of assessment, which will then lead into another round of tests and improvements.
Jürgen Gerdes, CEO of the Post – eCommerce – Parcel division, said, “Day in and day out, our delivery staff performs outstanding but exhausting work. We’re constantly working on new solutions to allow our employees to handle this physically challenging work even as they continue to age.
“We are already using a variety of tools in this regard, including e-Bikes and e-Trikes for postal deliveries, and are now also looking at innovative robot applications. This current test is expected to deliver important insights into how we can further develop the delivery process for our employees at DHL.”
October 9, 2017