London to trial new delivery robots

Hot on the heels of Amazon Prime’s Air drone delivery is an all-new innovative project from consumer delivery company, Hermes. Rather than using airborne drones, the German firm has decided to use wheeled robots to deliver packages and mail. In collaboration with Starship Technologies, self-driving robots will soon be zooming around London in an experimental trial period. 

Centred in the London borough of Southwark, the autonomous robots will deliver packages in a 3.2 kilometre radius. The six-wheeled 55-centimetre long vehicles can carry parcels of up to 10 kilograms and their progress can be monitored via a Smartphone app. With a top speed of 6.5km/h, they’re pretty speedy too. The testing period will help Hermes gauge whether the robots are a workable solution that could enhance the scheduling and tracking capabilities used in their services. The bots are managed from a control centre, where they are loaded and charged. Currently, they can be used only within a 3.2 kilometre radius from the centre but this distance is likely to be expanded in the future. Hermes describes the robotic vehicles as 99 per cent autonomous. An operator monitors the fleet’s movements via GPS and can step in and take charge if anything goes awry. The advantage they have over drones is the fact that as they’re on the ground, they are not forced to abide to aviation laws, which are often very strict in cities and towns. The London trial isn’t the first of its kind. The robots were successfully tested in the suburbs of Hamburg, Germany last August. If it all works out, your Blu-ray boxsets could be at your door even faster than before!

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