These pedestrian robots could deliver your next package

IDG News Service | Oct 13, 2016

Starship Technologies wants to make "last-mile" deliveries fast, easy, and convenient with its six-wheeled delivery robots.

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In the near future, this guy could deliver your new pair of shoes or bag of groceries.

Starship Technologies wants to bridge the last gap of on-demand deliveries with this cute robot.

The company says that right now, home delivery services are least efficient in residential areas because large trucks have to make frequent stops to deliver their parcels.

Starship’s solution is this 6-wheeled robot that will cover the last 1-3 miles of a delivery route, using sidewalks to bring goods right to consumers’ front doors. And they want to do it all for a dollar.

Using a smartphone app, consumers will be able to schedule exactly when they want their package delivered and track the bot as it makes its way to their home. Once there, consumers will unlock the bot’s compartment using a button on the app. The company says it’s all about convenience.

“Say we were ordering some clothes online or pairs of shoes, or something like that, you could order, say 4 or 5 pairs of shoes online, you could try the shoes on at your front door, and if they didn’t fit or if you didn’t like the color, you could return them immediately in the robot for free.”

Though the bot looks like a glorified cooler, it’s equipped with a wide array of sensors and cameras to help it navigate and avoid obstacles. Right now, each delivery robot is accompanied by a human guard and looked after by a remote operator, but Starships says that eventually, they want to have robots that operate 99 percent autonomously.

Naturally, that brings up the question of theft and vandalism.

“We do have many theft prevention measures to prevent this from happening. They include the nine cameras, which can be recording if it detects an instance of theft. We have alarms if you pick up the robot, like a car alarm, to draw attention to to the robot. The lid is locked during a delivery, and also most importantly we have tracking to the nearest inch.”

Starship Technologies is already doing real deliveries to customers in Britain, Germany, and Switzerland. And it’s revving its wheels for the USA. The company says it recently got cleared to conduct a pilot program in Washington D.C. starting this fall.