Residents of Helsinki’s Jätkäsaari district currently have the opportunity to use an autonomous, electric robot to deliver their parcels. The pilot project will operate in the Finnish capital from 2 November to 10 December 2021.
The City of Helsinki has recognised a need to improve the district's urban logistics, following an increase in Jätkäsaari’s population. As such, its innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki has collaborated with start-ups LMAD and GIM Robotics, as well as DB Schenker, to launch the electric delivery robot. The aim of the pilot project is to provide residents with a quick and easy way of collecting packages.
The Project Planner Matias Oikari from Forum Virium Helsinki noted that last mile deliveries tend to pose the most challenges in urban areas. Therefore, the companies have teamed up to explore how an autonomous delivery robot can overcome these challenges.
When placing an order, users must first select the option of a delivery by DB Schenker using the LMAD robot. They will then receive a link to select a time and location for their delivery. Once the robot arrives customers will be sent a notification containing a pin code which must then be provided to the robot. The robot stops at several locations in Hyväntoivonpuisto – a city park in Jätkäsaari – for 30 minutes to allow residents to pick up their parcel at another location if they miss their initial slot. To guarantee safety, the robot moves at walking speed along pavements and is equipped with sensors that continuously observe its surroundings and force the robot to stop if an obstacle is present.
With the rapid growth of e-commerce, logistics companies are searching for smart ways of delivering products to customers. If Helsinki’s pilot proves successful, it could pave the way for further innovation, leading to reduced costs and the modernisation of the logistics industry. Co-founder of LMAD and Product Lead Gergely Horváth commented on this, highlighting that the autonomous service is not only cost-effective but also convenient, flexible, and environmentally friendly.
Original article first published by TheMayor on 14 October 2021
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