Hermes have announced a new trial for self-driving delivery robots in the UK.
The courier firm will arrange for several Starship Technologies’ six-wheeled robots to set out on the streets of London. With an ability to carry up to 10kg at a time and travelling at 4mph, packages will be stored inside a compartment in the robot that can be unlocked with a code sent to the customer’s phone.
During the trial, human operators will supervise just three robots each by monitoring the on-board cameras and assuming control in challenging situations, such as road crossings. However, it has been said that in the future one person will be able to supervise up to 100 robots each.
The robots are already being used by takeaway delivery firm Just Eat in parts of the capital, though Hermes will initially use them for collections rather than distribution. The machines will be tasked with completing 30-minute collection jobs to see how they cope with challenging targets.
Drones are also being developed for a similar role but there are more restrictions with this compared to land based delivery bots, as well as the disadvantage with their ability to carry heavier loads.