Innovation That Matters

Delivery robots

Driverless delivery robots to use sidewalks


Startup hopes to automate the entire delivery process with robots designed to travel on sidewalks.

Robots are being used for an increasing range of tasks. Recently, we have seen robots developed for uses such as tricking industrial hackers and constructing scaffolding. Spanish startup Eliport wants to use robots to automate goods delivery. The delivery market is expanding rapidly and Eliport wants to disrupt this industry by automating the entire delivery process – from loading to transportation and delivery. The company’s autonomous robots are designed to travel on sidewalks rather than roads, and can load themselves. Once they reach the correct address, they can unload themselves into a pre-installed secure storage area.

The delivery robots will be able to carry around 30-40 kilograms of goods. In addition to unloading in a secure location, the company says that customers will be able to gain access to the robots by using facial recognition software or a code. The robots will move at walking speed and will give way to humans and animals. To find their way, the robots will use three dimensional maps and multiple sensors which can record and transmit data in real-time. This will allow each robot to calculate the fastest possible route to its destination.

Companies such as British grocery giant Tesco and Spanish delivery company Ulabox have already expressed interest in the technology. Eliport recently raised 45,000 USD of crowdfunded equity on Start Engine and hope to launch a prototype in 2018, with a fully autonomous product coming to the market around 2020. Eliport’s goal is to make autonomous robots an everyday part of urban life.

Takeaway: Eliport envisions a future streetscape where autonomous robots deliver parcels and groceries, as well as complete tasks such as cleaning the streets. Could delivery robots also help reduce urban congestion and provide a cost-effective delivery solution for businesses?




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