Travelling along pavements and, at a speed of four miles per hour, blending in with the pedestrian traffic, self-driving robots are making inroads into the delivery space. The developer, Starship Technologies, says its delivery robots can carry the equivalent of two grocery bags and complete local deliveries within 5-30 minutes from a local hub or retail outlet. By using robots in this way, delivery costs can be cut significantly. “Our vision revolves around three zeroes – zero cost, zero waiting time and zero environmental impact. We want to do to local deliveries what Skype did to telecommunications.” said Ahti Heinla, a Skype co-founder and CEO at Starship Technologies.
The design’s navigation and obstacle avoidance software enables it to drive autonomously, but it is also overseen by human operators to ensure safety at all times. A GPS tracker and a lock prevent thefts. Using a mobile app, customers can access their parcels, securely held in a cavity within the robot.