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Starship Technologies wants to use six-wheeled robots, not drones, to deliver your packages

By Shawn Knight ยท 14 replies
Nov 3, 2015
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  1. Futurists and technology enthusiasts alike are patiently waiting for the day when aerial drones – not humans driving big trucks – are responsible for delivering parcels. We’re still at least a few years away from that reality but one London startup has a different vision of the future.

    Starship Technologies, founded by Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friss, also believes we’ll be relying on autonomous robots to handle package delivery needs. Instead of aerial drones, however, the company hopes it’ll be its fleet of six-wheeled robots doing all the work.

    As COO Allan Martinson explains, customers can place an order using an Uber-style app. A robot from a nearby hub will gather the order and head out the door using GPS, sensors and cameras to help navigate sidewalks at a blistering 4 mph (a little faster than typical walking speed). There’s also a two-way communications system in the event an operator needs to speak with someone along the way.

    The idea may sound silly but the truth is, the last mile is the expensive part of the traditional delivery process. If a big name company like FedEx or UPS were to successfully deploy robots to handle this part of the delivery, it could save tons of money in operating costs.

    The cute roaming robots also address a key concern with aerial drones: safety. By traveling at slow speeds on the ground, it’d be pretty difficult for it to cause serious harm to pedestrians compared to a heavy drone falling perilously out of the sky.

    Starship Technologies said it plans to conduct trials next year in Greenwich, London, and is actively talking with several logistics companies regarding potential use.

    Permalink to story.

  2. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,133   +1,551

    Honestly, they need to test in Pittsburgh, PA. Hills and bridges galore. If it can make it here then at least terrain wise will be good to go.

    Also, I liked the old man scene.
    yRaz likes this.
  3. alabama man

    alabama man TS Guru Posts: 563   +355

    Big Faraday cage in a van and drive around collecting these and selling as parts online.

    Just saying why it won't work.

    Maybe if it's very inexpensive but then it causes all sorts of problems in traffic. If this makes a sudden turn in front of me as I drive my bicycle at 40km/h I see a big problem.

    At least I see the main cost for UPS is the poor quality work force. Came to behind my door 3 times and didn't know how to use doorbell or call me on the phone. Had to go pickup the package my self as it was going to be shipped back next week as they couldn't (didn't even try to) reach me. I live in apartment building with the default doorbell. Didn't even drop any note from mail slot, had to call the seller that guided me to their site. 3 car trips without nothing accomplished must cost a lot: gas, wages and putting my box in and out of storage.
  4. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,356   +2,858

    First to be featured on Breaking Bad.
  5. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TechSpot Staff Posts: 636   +614

    Haha.. that's 5 minutes down the road from me. Can't wait to see these little dudes meandering round, confusing all the chavs...
  6. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    Around here that thing had better be able to defend itself because it wouldn't even make 20 metres before it's ripped apart, contents stolen and thrown into the bush.
    psycros likes this.
  7. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 3,050   +1,384

    What will stop peoeple from picking these up and throwing them in the back of a truck...
  8. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,817   +2,062

    The same thing that stops criminals from having access to guns, laws
    captaincranky likes this.
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,686   +3,841

    Remember, guns don't kill people, people kill people..

    Now I have a question. If these things only go 4 miles an hour, wouldn't any self respecting, opportunistic criminal, just beat someone up and take their dirt bike instead?
  10. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TechSpot Staff Posts: 636   +614

    Guns don't kill people. People who say guns don't kill people, kill people. With guns. /grin
  11. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 827   +438

    I wonder how fast it moves after you kick it onto its side
  12. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,208   +4,877

    I can only laugh at all these automated delivery concepts. Has society gotten this lazy already, that we frequently dream of lifestyles that will never happen? We have to fix our mentality of how we treat each other before this will ever be possible.
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,686   +3,841

    This may simply be sad commentary on the state of public education in the post-bellum south. I have had the most wonderful and accurate UPS..and USPS carriers, anyone could ever hope for. Not to mention the city trash men. I wouldn't trade any one of these good people for a dozen mayoral wannabes and a personal visit from another dozen presidential, "hopefuls"...:cool:

    BTW, it's illegal for anyone other than a United States Postal Service employee to use someone's mailbox for any other reason than the service of US mail, with postage applied. Jus' sayin', aunt Maggie might get away with it, but all the private carriers are taught to stay away from the mail slot like it was the plague.

    In fact, you can't even legally drop a Christmas card in your neighbor's mailbox without a stamp.

    Bone up on the "private express statutes" here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_Express_Statutes

    The unfortunate fact of life in operation here is this; parcel drivers lives are planned for them in advance of every workday. Where the missed delivery problem arises, is when a person believes they must build that life around them.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd sit on the stoop and wait for my stuff. With the tracking information available today, you'd only need to do it once, and you'd have your goodies.
    psycros likes this.
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,686   +3,841

    Well no Cliff, the people pushing these bizarre agendas, are corporate CEO's. Unfortunately, "corporate CEO", is a euphemism for, "excessively pampered and patronized sociopath with paranoid delusions of godhood".

    People in general, are stupid and lazy by nature. They don't need a very big push to, "get better at it".

    Equal rights for women has fouled the natural order of things. Once upon a time, you used to be able to say, "honey, bring me a beer", as you sat idly on the couch. Today, the adverse reaction and vengence from women's rights groups, would come swiftly, as though the lord our God had demanded it.

    And since "Fido" is likely to punch his canine's through today's cheap a** tin cans, you need to build a fridge raiding, AI enhanced robot, to get you that Bud. Or heaven forbid, get up and get it yourself...:D
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
  15. infiltrator

    infiltrator TS Booster Posts: 171   +31

    That's besides my point, I'm pretty sure that kind of incident will just be a matter of time, until it does happen. On the other hand, drones may be a little unsafe, if something technically were to happen to it.

    But at least, they can fly faster and the package can get delivered on time.

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