The global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company has predicted that robots will replace human couriers to deliver up to 80% of parcels within 10 years, and early trials have already begun in a number of cities.
The technology is not without its kinks to iron out, however. Some safety concerns with the speedy adoption is that Amazon’s AGV’s (autonomous ground vehicles) are able to unlock doors at customers’ homes to deliver packages when they are not present, if the customer gives their permission. But it has already been exposed as a security risk as white-hat hackers have successfully intercepted this information and maneuvered the machine to give them entry after the robots had arrived.
Residents of China’s ‘Silicon Valley’ Receive Packages via Drone
Residents of Beijing’s Haidian district aka ‘China’s Silicon Valley’, now have the opportunity to receive shipments of online purchases from robots or drones instead of human couriers.
The automatic delivery devices have traveled a total of 7,000 KM throughout their trial phase. These remote-controlled robots aim to solve the ‘last mile’ problem of delivering goods individually to consumers doorsteps, and it could drastically reduce costs by adopting automatic deliveries.
Guided by GPS and remote control, the unmanned devices can follow routes which avoid road barriers, notify customers to pick up their packages via instant message, and can include passwords to unlock their packages.
AI Robot Courier Makes the Rounds in Italian City
Italian researchers have produced an AI-controlled delivery bot called Yape, which is now roaming the streets in Cremona, Northern Italy.
The little robot has GPS, sensitive receivers and sensors, carries its cargo to the buyer, uses facial recognition to confirm delivery and maintains constant contact with police stations to prevent theft. Yape warns the buyer when it’s close by, and can travel 50km on a single charge. The research team behind Yape mainly aims to work on its speed and battery life, and hopes to expand to more cities in future.