Self-driving delivery robots to enter service in the capital

19 April 2017

Parcel giant Hermes is launching a fleet of autonomous robots to complete emissions-free last-mile deliveries in London this summer.

The company is working with robotics company Starship Technologies to develop the robots, which will operate in the borough of Southwark. A similar operation is already being trialled in Hamburg, Germany.

The parcel company is deploying the robots to help it understand how they can be used for in-demand parcel collection and delivery, based on the company’s desire to drop off and collect parcels within pre-defined 30-minute time slots.

It claims that the self-driving robots offer an alternative to drones, especially in highly developed cities, towns and suburbs where strict aviation laws are in operation.

Each of the six-wheeled robots can travel at speeds of up to 4mph and are operated within two-miles of their control centre, where they are loaded and recharged.

The delivery robots measure 55x70cm and incorporate a secured compartment where parcels up to a weight of 10kg can be transported. This can then be opened by the intended recipient using a smartphone app that will give them a unique code.

Hermes Chief Executive, Carole Woodhead, said, “Starship Technologies is a highly innovative and pioneering firm. We can already see first-hand the success they’ve had with food deliveries in London, and we are excited to team up with them in a bid to revolutionise the home delivery marketplace.”