Autonomous last mile delivery service expands to 10 cities
The expansion of an autonomous robot delivery service in the UK offers a glimpse of a future where fleet managers only have to take responsibility for vehicles, not drivers.
Parcel logistics company DPD is extending its robot deliveries to 10 towns and cities in the UK over the next year, following a successful trial in Milton Keynes.
The last mile delivery specialist believes as many as 30 of its UK depots could host a fleet of the Cartken robots, which have already completed more than 2,500 parcel delivery trips.
1.6km range, 12-hour battery
The electric robots have a range of 1.6km (1 mile) from the depot, and operate for 12 hours, before recharging overnight. Each one has three separate parcel compartments.
Customers receive an advance notification, and when they confirm they are at home to accept their parcel, DPD despatches the robot.
The robots receive directions when the parcels are loaded in the depot, and navigate themselves to the specific delivery address.
Customers can track a robot's progress on a map and receive a final notification when it arrives at their property. They then use a code to open the secure compartment and retrieve their parcel, before the robot continues to its next destination.
Anjali Jindal Naik, Co-Founder and COO of Cartken, said: "Autonomous mobility will be a key lever for decarbonisation, as it transforms last-mile transportation into a much greener process. By partnering with delivery companies, such as DPD, we're propelling this transformation forward, making sustainable delivery the norm.”
At the launch of the trial in Milton Keynes, Elaine Kerr, DPD UK CEO, described the robots as a sustainable solution, and said the company wanted to find out if they could help it take vans off the road in future.
"Realistically, we aren't going to be completely replacing our delivery drivers anytime soon. And we wouldn't want to. But we've always led the way on innovation and… this is the next logical step in terms of evolving delivery solutions and working towards our aim of being the UK's most sustainable delivery company."