Swiss Post Testing Starship Technologies Delivery Robots
Switzerland’s national postal service, Swiss Post, will in September 2016 start testing Starship Technologies delivery robots. If all goes well, Swiss Post said it could officially start using delivery robots in as early as three years.
Swiss Post, which has already tested delivery drones and self-driving postbuses, will trial Starship’s delivery robots in the capital, Bern, and the towns of Biberist and Köniz. The idea is to see how effective the robots can be at carrying goods over the last mile of the delivery route.
The Swiss Post said some of the conceivable applications include same-day and same-hour delivery, grocery deliveries or even home deliveries of medical products. Depending on how the tests go, Swiss Post said it could officially start using delivery robots in as early as three years.
Starship’s delivery robots can carry up to 40 pounds within a 3-mile (5km) radius. The robots move at pedestrian speed and use a combination of GPS and multiple cameras to map their environment. They can also navigate around objects and people. The cargo bay of the delivery robots are locked throughout the journey and can be opened only by the recipient.
You’ll be able to order and monitor the status of your delivery through a smartphone app, and the company said deliveries will take anywhere from 5-30 minutes, depending on the distance. Swiss Post said during the testing phase the delivery robots will be accompanied by a person who can gather as much information as possible about the robot’s performance.
Claudia Pletscher, Swiss Posts’s head of development and innovation, said it is vital for the company to stay on top of these new technology trends.
“We are number one in logistics in Switzerland so this trend needs to be and is very interesting for us. It’s very important that we are at the top of such developments, that they are tested and we see what impact it has on the delivery chain, on the delivery itself and on our clients.”
Pletscher also stressed that Starship’s delivery robots won’t put human postal carriers out or work. “We will keep needing the postmen, it’s not a substitute, but it’s a complementary way of delivering things that today we do not have in our offering.”