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Robotic delivery scheme trialled in London

13 July 2016 - 13:06 by Mike Price

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While airborne delivery of products purchased via safe shopping online is still some way off, the first autonomous vehicles to be involved in fulfilling orders are set to hit the capital in the coming weeks. And rather than relying on propellers or wings, these robots can arrive at customers’ homes without ever leaving the tarmac.

The robots, developed by Starship Technologies, have been procured by Just Eat and Pronto, according to Internet Retailing. And these two fast food delivery firms are going to be putting them through their paces in London, meaning human delivery workers will no longer be required.

The machines can trundle along at a steady pace and reach locations that are within a three mile radius of their starting point. It takes around half an hour for them to cover this distance and they have already been put to work in North America, with 400,000 satisfied customers receiving parcels, packages and food deliveries in this manner.

The firm behind the autonomous wheeled delivery robots also claims that, so far, they have not been involved in any kind of mishaps, meaning that they should be safe enough to use in London, even with all the hustle and bustle.

The robots are not entirely autonomous, in that while they can get from A to B without being controlled by a human, they are still monitored remotely by a dedicated operative, to make sure that any incidents which do occur can be dealt with effectively.

The trial of these machines in Europe will not only involve delivery of takeaways ordered via safe shopping online in London, but will also encompass other schemes in Berlin and Dusseldorf. And the robots themselves have actually been designed and built in Estonia, showing that the US does not have the monopoly on creating autonomous tech.