DPD is to commence autonomous robot deliveries in two Milton Keynes neighborhoods in the UK, as part of a trial with AI-powered robotics and last-mile delivery company Cartken.
DPD parcel recipients will be notified of a robot delivery in advance, and once they confirm that they are at home to accept the parcel, the robot will be dispatched. The DPD-branded robots, which will operate out of the firm’s Knowlhill depot, will navigate the city’s traffic-free Redway network to access the residential neighborhoods of Shenley Church End and Shenley Lodge. Powered by Cartken’s navigation, AI and Level 4 autonomy tech, the robots are currently ‘learning’ the routes and will then be able to find their way to delivery addresses, fully autonomously.
Customers will be able to track the robot’s progress on a map and will be notified when it reaches their property. They will then use a code to open the secure compartment and access their parcel. Once the compartment is closed, the robot will return to the depot for its next delivery. If the trial is successful, DPD intends to extend the sustainable, autonomous final-mile solution across the city, which could enable it to start removing traditional delivery vans from the road network.
Elaine Kerr, CEO of DPD UK, commented, “This is a really important trial for us. We want to understand the role that delivery robots could play in certain locations in the UK. They are a sustainable solution, and we genuinely want to find out if they could help us take vans off the road in the future. The technology is proven and with the DPD branding, they look fantastic. The public’s response to our EV [electric vehicle]fleet has been amazing, so I am confident these smart robots will be embraced by customers as part of the way forward.
“Realistically, we aren’t going to be completely replacing our delivery drivers anytime soon. And we wouldn’t want to. The service they provide is fantastic. But at DPD we’ve always led the way on innovation and investment in our network and this is the next logical step in terms of evolving delivery solutions and working toward our aim of being the UK’s most sustainable delivery company.”
Anjali Jindal Naik, co-founder and chief operating officer, Cartken, said, “We are excited to collaborate with DPD for parcel delivery in the UK market. Our robots are designed to provide sustainable solutions that integrate into existing city infrastructure. We are thrilled to be a part of DPD’s sustainability plan as they adopt more environmentally conscious solutions through the use of our delivery robots.”