Hermes, the consumer delivery specialist, is launching a testing programme for self-driving delivery robots in London. In partnership with Starship Technologies,
Initially, the trial will allow the delivery firm to offer limited thirty-minute time slots for the collection of parcels, either for items being returned to retailers, or for items being sent by small businesses or consumers via myHermes.
Moving forward, the robots could offer Hermes greater scheduling and tracking capabilities.
Each vehicle is 55cm high by 70cm long and incorporates a secured compartment where parcels with a maximum weight of 10KG can be transported, accessible to consumers via a link generated by a smartphone app. They have six wheels and can travel at speeds up to 4mph per hour.
The robots can be used within a 2 mile radius from a control centre, where the vehicles are loaded and charged. The aim is for the robots to be 99% autonomous in the future, and can always be connected to a human operator via the internet and GPS. In the future, one operator can monitor several robots at the same time and can also take control of the robots if required.
Carole Woodhead, CEO of Hermes, said: “Starship Technologies is a highly innovative and pioneering firm. We are extremely pleased to utilise their expertise to explore exciting new ways that will further strengthen our portfolio of services and offer greater choice and convenience for customers. We can already see first-hand the success they’ve had with food deliveries in London, and we are excited to team up with them in a bid to revolutionise the home delivery marketplace.”
Delivery bots in the streets, Amazon drones flying overhead, and self-driving cars on our roads. Convenient tech-nirvana or the start of a decent into a dystopian future? Let us know what you think in the comments below.