Courier Company Hermes Trials Self-Driving Delivery Robots in London

hermes

Courier company Hermes announced last week it is partnering with Starship Technologies to launch a testing program for the use of self-driving delivery robots in the London borough of Southwark.

Hermes Germany and Starship Technologies have earlier tested parcel delivery by robot in the Ottensen, Volksdorf and Grindel suburbs of Hamburg. Starting last August, three robots were deployed on the streets of the German city.

Initially, the trial will allow the delivery firm to offer limited thirty-minute time slots for the collection of parcels, either for items being returned to retailers, or for items being sent by small businesses or consumers via myHermes, according to the company.

The self-driving delivery robots offer a viable alternative to drones, especially in highly developed cities, towns and suburbs where strict aviation laws are in constant operation, said Hermes.

Each vehicle is 55cm high by 70cm long and incorporates a secured compartment where parcels with a maximum weight of 10KG can be transported, accessible to consumers via a link generated by a smartphone app. They have six wheels and can travel at speeds up to 4mph per hour.

The robots can be used within a 2 mile radius from a control center, where the vehicles are loaded and charged. The aim is for the robots to be 99% autonomous in the future, and can always be connected to a human operator via the internet and GPS. In the future, one operator can monitor several robots at the same time and can also take control of the robots if required, the company stated.