Local Deliveries: Robots or Drones?

Margherita Olivo
November 7th 2015

In response to Amazon's drone delivery project, Skype co-founders, Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, developed a robot that will remodel our local deliveries system. It is called Starship and its purpose is to reduce delivery costs and eventually make them completely free of charge.

This self-driving robot is small and very practical. It can carry the equivalent of two grocery bags at an average speed of 4mph. It uses mapping navigation and obstacle avoidance technology to be even more effective. Delivering groceries and parcels will only cost around 1 $ and it will take no more than 20 minutes. Once the robot arrives at destination, the parcel can be accessible by the addressee through a smartphone app and it can also communicate with people thanks to speakers and microphones.

At Starship Technologies they are confident that this new delivery method will be operative in 2016. Are we really looking at the future of shipping? Some skepticism remains, especially regarding thefts and damaging.

However, Starship could - on the long run - considerably reduce costs for both the producer and the client, not to mention the advantages it could represent regarding low-emissions and sustainability.

"If we decide to start serving an area, we need to run the robots for some period of time under human control - maybe a few days, maybe a few weeks, to map all the landmarks and lanes and potholes. After that, the robot can drive itself" Mr Friis said.

"If anything comes up, like a difficult road crossing or a new unexpected situation on the roads, or if there are lots of people around and it needs to figure out how to navigate through them, it can always call home, and the operator can see what the robot sees and overtake the driving".

Source: The Telegraph. Image: Starship Technologies

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