Wednesday, May 2, 2018

On Site Autonomous Parcel Delivery Services Become Reality

Roll Over Isaac Asimov - I Robot Comes to Life on Campus
Shipping News Feature
US – EUROPE – Starship Technologies, the robotics start-up by Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, has announced a major commercial rollout of autonomous delivery services for corporate and academic campuses across the US and Europe. This comes on top of continuing schemes to promote growth in robotic food, grocery and parcel delivery in residential neighbourhoods.

Starship says that its initiative is the first large scale deployment of autonomous delivery services, supporting campuses by implementing robots to assist in work and school environments. The robots offer on-demand delivery anywhere on participating campuses via an app, offering employees the flexibility and convenience of having food delivered when and where they want, eliminating unwanted errands and waiting in line, or transporting items to and from other locations on campus.

The robots can be easily deployed in specially-designed pods that can be stationed around campuses, providing automated battery-swapping as well as housing for the robots while off duty. The pods can be designed to fit in with the architecture of the campus or neighbourhood they operate in, and come in various sizes to accommodate different numbers of robots. Ahti Heinla, CEO of Starship Technologies, said:

“We’ve partnered with Compass Group on the Intuit Mountain View campus in the US to provide accessible, convenient and sustainable robotic delivery, and after a successful start to the year and great reception to our robots, we are planning to dramatically expand our services and distribute thousands of robots across campuses around the world by 2019.”

The campus launch represents a major milestone in the growth of Starship Technologies, expanding on commercial delivery pilot programmes in the US, UK, Germany, Switzerland and Estonia. Robots developed by Starship Technologies have now covered over 100,000 miles around the world in 20 countries and over 100 cities, encountering over 15 million people along the way. Starship says that robots on campuses help increase efficiency and let employees make the most out of work environments that now often include recreational amenities to support and encourage a better work-life balance.

On Intuit’s Mountain View campus, workers can order food and drink via the Starship app for delivery throughout the day across all 4.3 acres of the campus. On average, a Starship robot takes 17 minutes to deliver food, coffee or snacks on the campus, giving people more time to be productive or enjoy their breaks around their campus, instead of standing in line.

Starship’s robots can deliver all manner of items, from food and office stationery to tools and spare parts in large Campus environments. To date, the most common Starship delivery item at Intuit has been breakfast sandwiches, giving employees access to a meal frequently skipped.

On average, people spend 73% of their work day sitting at their desks. Prolonged desk sitting is proven to be bad for physical health and mental well-being. Reaction to the robots has been overwhelmingly positive from workers on the Intuit campus, which also encourages their staff to move around and take advantage of a campus that offers an outdoor area including basketball courts, a reflection garden, an outdoor patio with Wi-Fi and vegetation to encourage local wildlife.

The Starship Technologies fleet of robots is designed to deliver goods locally in 15-60 minutes. The delivery robots, which have been tested in over 100 cities around the world to date, drive autonomously but are monitored by humans who can take over control at any time.