Skip to main content
By Ellen
on 23 Jun 2017 12:42 PM
  • Industries
We have reviewed and discussed many innovations in the supply chain and transportation industries over the past year. Companies such as Amazon have been removing all types of barriers and limits in terms of rapid delivery. As a consequence, this is pushing other retailers to follow suit and outdo Amazon when it comes to customer service and delivery. All types of interesting developments and innovations are seeing the light of day, and it’s difficult not to imagine these developments rapidly becoming reality over the next few months and years.
 

Grocery delivery via robot

Just recently, Tesco supermarkets in the U.K. worked with Starship Technologies to make their mark on the world of innovative delivery systems. A first test was carried out where a six-wheel robot–created by Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, Skype co-founders–delivered a box of groceries inside a 5km radius of the supermarket within an hour. The main idea was to create an autonomous delivery vehicle that is both sustainable and cost-effective for retailer and customer.
 

How does it work?

The battery operated robot is equipped with a GPS system, nine cameras, and sensors that allow it to navigate routes and avoid obstacles, traffic, and pedestrians. It has also been designed to climb over sidewalk edges up to 20cm and drive through up to 20cm of snow! At the same time, the customer can track the robot while it is en route and be ready to pick up the delivery on arrival.
 

How about security?

Each delivery is secured by a PIN code that is sent to the end customer for safe reception. The cameras are also set up to record any attempt at theft, and the videos can be posted directly on YouTube for immediate exposure. While the robot is almost completely autonomous, the controls can immediately be taken over remotely if the robot encounters any issues.
 
So, will we be crossing paths with delivery robots on our streets in the near future? While this is currently the only pilot test that has been run by Tesco, they are already planning more for later this year in London. The main objective is to start rolling the project out to other areas in the near future. There really is no reason why supermarkets can’t take on this delivery method and start using it to provide rapid deliveries to both individual customers and smaller shops!