National postal operator Swiss Post has partnered with tech startup Starship Technologies to conduct a series of trials using automated robots for last-mile deliveries.
The robots are being trialled as an inexpensive solution to complement standard parcel deliveries, with conceivable applications including same-day and same-hour delivery, grocery deliveries, and even home deliveries of medical products.
The robots contain a secure parcel compartment capable of handling small to medium-sized packages, which has also been fitted with an alarm in the case of attempted vandalism or robbery. The robots navigate their environment using GPS, proximity sensors and cameras, and in situations of doubt, an operator can take control of the robot from a remote location. The parcel robot also learns with every journey, thus increasing its level of autonomy.
Trials for the Starship delivery robots will begin in September 2016 in the municipalities of Berne, Köniz and Biberist in Switzerland, providing the delivery robots with a range of geographical and logistical challenges. Depending on the test results, Swiss Post expects to see the first commercial applications starting in approximately three years. The Starship robots are also currently being tested by companies in Germany and the UK for a variety of applications.
August 24, 2016