Self-Driving Delivery Robots To Be Tested in London


The concept of delivery drones is one that Amazon has been tinkering with for a couple years now with its Amazon Prime Air service, currently in development. The first successful drone delivery was made by the Federal Aviation Administration this past July, but not everyone is looking to the sky for the future of package transport.

A new company called Starship Technologies, launched by Skype co-founders Janus Friis and Ahti Heinla, announced plans to test its first fleet of self-driving delivery robots in London this month. Designed for short deliveries because they are grounded and not aerial, the 22-inch tall robots are 99 percent autonomous and advanced enough to maneuver around people and other obstacles. The storage compartment is large enough to hold a small load of groceries or supplies, and the robot can be tracked every step of the way using a smartphone.

"Our vision revolves around three zeroes—zero cost, zero waiting time and zero environmental impact," Heinla said in a press release. "We want to do to local deliveries what Skype did to telecommunications." The company posted to Twitter this week that the first "public rollout" for the robots will be November 12 at Slush 2015, a conference in Helsinki, Finland that pairs inventors and tech startups with investors and the media. Dezeen reports that the robots will be tested in the real world next year, beginning in London.