Autonomous delivery systems have become key points of discussion in the Silicon Valley with many top companies trying to develop appropriate systems. Much hype has been around drones’ though Starship Technologies believes that the future of distribution lies in the droid. The company is expected to unveil its Droid delivery system in Greenwich London in May.
Starship Technologies’ droid are simply a robot courier running on six-wheel using 3G GPS signal to navigate. It has nine camera monitor and sensors to help it monitor its surrounding and avoid hitting toddlers, tree roots and other pavement hazards. Humans supervisor located at a central location can take control of the robot when it seems to be getting into trouble.
Analysts have noted that the droid holds certain advantages over drones. For instances, they face fewer regulatory hurdles. Ahti Heinla, the brains behind this concept indicates that the smaller robots are easier and cheaper to build. He further notes that because of their weight that is less than 35 and their slow travelling speed, they have a low probability of causing damage.Allan Martinson of Starship Technologies pointed out that the company would also keep down delivery cost in the final step of the distribution process. He notes that approximately 30% – 40% of transportation cost crops up during the last mile.
The Droid has the potential of delivering up to 20 pounds of goods, moving at 4 miles per hour. This basically is the equivalent of three good-sized bags of groceries. Martinson noted that they had tested the Droid in snow, ice, slush and rain and it performed satisfactorily. The Droid has already covered more than 1,900 miles in Britain, United States, Belgium, and Estonia and is expected to cover more than 50,000 miles this year.
Starship Technologies has planned that the robots will deliver within a three-mile radius of a central logistic hub. Their primary target will be to deliver goods at a low cost of £1 to £3. Through reduced cost, small business will be in a position to move into e-commerce. The company believes, it is well placed to deliver in suburban than high-density cities and remote location.
The success of droids is something we will have to wait and see. Drones are their biggest competitors with the ability to charge less on a per-mile basis. Some analysts still project that humans will still have the edge over any sci-fi inspired delivery systems. As of now, Amazon is testing its drone delivery system while Google has sought a patent for a self-driving truck that can carry a large number of storage lockers that unlock with a text message. Uber, on the other hand, is deploying drivers for food delivery, a concept that has the potential to expand to other products.
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