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Your next delivery could be made by an autonomous robot

Posted: 12 April 2017 | By Darcie Thompson-Fields

UK consumer delivery courier Hermes is unleashing self-driving delivery robots on the streets of London.

As part of a testing programme in partnership with Starship Technologies, Hermes will be trialling parcel collections in the London borough of Southwark.

The trial follows on from a similar project in Hamburg last year that saw three robots deployed on the streets of the German city.

The delivery company will use the trial to attempt to understand how the robots could be used to improve its UK delivery service.

 

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.

The 55cm high robot can travel at speeds of up to 4mph on six wheels and can be tracked via an app. It can be used within a 2-mile radius from a control centre, the robot will be connected to a human operator.

“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.” Said Hermes CEO, Carole Woodhead.

“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.”

The unobtrusive self-driving robots could be used as an alternative to autonomous delivery drones. Highly developed cities and towns often have strict aviation laws that could make air-borne delivery impossible.

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