Omniva to trial Starship and Mercedes-Benz mothership concept

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Estonian logistics provider Omniva will trial a new ‘mothership’ concept for autonomous delivery, whereby an optimized Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van serves as a mobile loading and transport hub for eight Starship Delivery Robots. The pilot will take place over the summer in a Tallinn suburb.

Joona Saluveer, CEO of Omniva, said, “We are excited and honored to have the opportunity to be the first testers of this ‘robotic delivery solution’. The pilot will give us essential knowledge and feedback on the possibility of such innovations in our last-mile delivery process.”

Mercedes-Benz Vans and Starship Technologies already introduced the innovative concept back in September 2016, which combines the advantages of a van with those of autonomous delivery robots. Thanks to the intelligent interlinking of delivery processes, it will play a part in significantly improving the efficiency of last-mile delivery logistics in future.

Stefan Maurer, head of future transportation at Mercedes-Benz Vans, said, “We are very pleased to have found an innovative and agile partner in Omniva, with which we will take another major step toward the implementation of our system. The conditions here in Estonia are optimal and we are sure that the experience gained from this test will help us to make rapid progress on the road to Robotic Delivery Solutions.”

Ahti Heinla, CEO, Starship Technologies, said, “This is an important step forward for the future of parcel delivery. Our first tests with Omniva and Daimler will be invaluable for the future of this new technology.”

In June 2017, The Estonian parliament also adopted legislation allowing delivery robots – such as the ones manufactured by Starship Technologies – on its pedestrian sidewalks. The parliament said that the last-mile delivery accounts for about 20-40% of the entire delivery cost and therefore the trend is moving toward using delivery robots to save money.

Urve Palo, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, said, “I am very pleased that Estonia can present another technological innovation at the beginning of our presidency of the EU (European Union). It is a pilot in its early stages, of course, but all great things have started from little tests.

“E-commerce is growing quickly and in order to keep up, we must think of development in all aspects – from creating a consumer-friendly cross-border framework to the last-mile delivery technology.”

The pilot will be carried out in the suburban region of Kakumäe in northwestern part of Estonian capital Tallinn. The objective is to direct all regional parcel-flow that meets the size-requirements to robot deliveries.

July 24, 2017

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Dan originally joined Parcel and Postal Technology International in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As online editor, he now produces daily content for the website and supports the editor with the publication of each exciting new issue. When he’s not reporting on the latest technological developments, Dan can be found on the golf course or apprehensively planning his next DIY project.

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