Starship technologies, a startup out of London, revealed their self-driving delivery robot today. The robot moves at 4mph, which according to the article from the Washington post is “slightly faster than a pedestrian but slower than a jogger.” The robot weighs about 40 pounds and is estimated to make deliveries to local areas in about 30 minutes or less. The company suggests that this technology would be useful for neighborhood restaurants and retailers. They argue that the slow speed and on the ground approach takes away from the concerns of drone delivery.
The cargo bay is to be locked and can only be opened with the help of the app that the customer must have downloaded to use this service. This app will also allow you to track the location of the drone and the estimated time of delivery. Although the drone is 99% self-driving it does have an option of human navigation. This is for when it gets in sticky situations or needs the assistance of a human. The robot also has sensors that will allow it to know if a car is coming up to 200 meters away. It is said to cross the street much like a human would. The robot also has cameras and a speaker so that the operator can speak to humans if needed, as well as scare off potential thieves by stating that is has a gps tracking system and the police will be alerted of there location.
One problem I see with this service is that is takes away many jobs that young people are eligible for, such as pizza delivery. Another major factor is that, although I am not completely familiar with the locking mechanism and security of the robot, it would not be to hard for a thief to simply break into the robot and run away as fast as he/she could. Moving at 4mph and sticking out like a sore thumb, the robot isn’t exactly inconspicuous. I don’t see this technology being of much use in society for another 5-10 years, but wont the bugs are worked out and the programing updated, I could see this service becoming very widely accepted and used. Especially in the United States.
Link to article:
Video of Robot: