Friday, 3 February 2017

New Wave of Robots Set to Deliver the Goods

Robot
Ever thought about robots doing your everyday jobs while you relax all you want? That dream may not be that far from being reality as machines are being made that can deliver goods from markets to your doorstep. This unique and ground breaking idea is the new research project of Starship Technologies who are working to create automated six wheeled systems that can deliver groceries, parcels and prepared foods to consumers.

This entrepreneurial venture is created by the two founders of the popular video calling software Skype, AhtiHeinla and Janus Friis. Starship Technology has already begun testing these robots in various European countries.

How does the delivery system work? 

These automated robots can deliver light substances within a radius of 3 kilometers (2 miles). The delivery charges are kept within 1 dollar or less and the delivery is done within 15 to 30 minutes of the order. The robot avoids main streets while delivering and only moves through sidewalks and the consumers get a notification alerting the arrival of their goods through smartphone app. Starship intends to provide an easy delivery system so that elderly and handicapped people does not have to move around much. Delivery by robots also ensures that there are less cars and vans on roads which can lead to several beneficial effects.

How are they beneficial? 

Several retail giants like Amazon have made use of drones to deliver products. These delivery robots however are less expensive to build and maintain and does not have as many regulatory issues as the drone has. Although the robot moves a speed of four miles (six kilometers) per hour which is a lot slower than the drone, it provides a more economical and efficient delivery system. The delivery robot might have an advantage over urban demographic while the drones are suited better for rural and remote areas.

The Starship delivery robots are small but can carry loads over 20 pounds (9 kilograms) in weight. The one advantage they provide is their fast delivery and hence they do not need chilling and heating compartments, according to Starship Technology Spokesperson Harris-Burland. Customers can take the items from the robot as it does not have the ability to drop or leave the items.

The science behind Starship robots

So how does this clever little robot manage to make its way through the crowded city streets right to your doorsteps? By the use of visual localization, which is a strong point for Starship as said by its spokesperson. Each robot is equipped with nine high definition cameras that gives a real time map of its surrounding and thus it can avoid obstacles and stay on path. Mapping sidewalks might be a new and unique idea and all this is done by an artificial intelligence fit inside each Starship Delivery bot. the lids remain locked unless the customer opens it via the app hence ruling out cases of theft and vandalism.