After the successful test runs last autumn, Swiss Post is using delivery robots for deliveries over the last mile again this year. The first stage in a new series of tests is a partnership with Jelmoli: during the next few weeks, customers of the premium department store can have products from jelmoli.ch delivered free of charge within Zurich city center. While the focus last year was on technical and social issues, the current aim is to gather experience in integrating the technology into existing supply chains.
Delivery robots are being used in the heart of Zurich for the first time: as part of a pilot project, Jelmoli customers can have products ordered online delivered by robot to a location of their choice. To use this service, customers can select the corresponding delivery option during the checkout process at jelmoli.ch and enter the delivery location of their choice within a predefined area in the city center, along with their preferred delivery time slot. For example, this makes it possible to have a picnic delivered to a park bench by the lake, to have running shoes delivered to a hotel or to have a new shirt delivered directly to the office. Shortly before the robot arrives, the customer receives a link via SMS, which is needed to open the delivery compartment. Jelmoli is offering its customers the robot delivery option free of charge during the pilot project.
Tried-and-tested delivery robots from the manufacturer Starship Technologies are once again being used for the tests. These robots completed around 200 delivery rounds in 2016 and covered a distance of 1,000 kilometres. The data collected during the trial was incorporated fully into the development and optimization of the robots. In order to gather as much experience as possible during the upcoming operational tests, the self-driving robots are being accompanied and monitored by trained specialists.
From food deliveries to medication
Over the coming months, Swiss Post will test the use of the delivery robots for further logistics tasks – from food deliveries to sending medical products and same-day delivery of special items. To achieve this, Swiss Post is working closely with companies from a wide variety of sectors in several locations across Switzerland. Delivery robots are ideal for consignments that need to be delivered flexibly, quickly and inexpensively in a local neighbourhood. This kind of ad-hoc logistics over the last mile is not covered by mail carriers, which is why delivery robots can provide a useful extension to existing supply chains. Alongside delivery robots, Swiss Post is also testing other autonomous systems such as logistics drones and intelligent shuttles.
Source: Swiss Post