Skype representatives announce self-driving roadrunner robots for deliveries
06.11.2015 356 views
Starship Technologies, a startup created by Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, has made public its plans for a fleet of small, autonomous electric vehicles that can deliver packages from a local hub or stores in 5 to 30 minutes.
The vehicle, called Starship, travels about four miles per hour and is capable of carrying up to 20 pounds, or what the startup says is the equivalent of two grocery bags, usatoday.com reports. The company is hoping that by deploying its fleet it can bring the cost of deliveries made by Starships to under USD 1.
Similar to ordering a car from Uber, the robots can be summoned through an app to make the delivery at a time slot that works for customers. And, as with Uber, Starship users can similarly track and monitor the robot's commute from its hub to their address from within the app. To ensure packages are securely delivered, only the app user can unlock the Starship and access the contents inside.
As with other autonomous vehicles, the Starship incorporates GPS, cameras and other sensors to navigate to customer locations and then uses those same sensors to return to its hub once the delivery is completed. The robot is designed to travel on streets and sidewalks and the sensors on the device can also detect and automatically stop if it notices something getting in its way.
The company says that the 'bots are overseen by human operators to "ensure safety at all times." Those human operators can also utilise the Starship's speaker and microphone to act as a deterrent in the event someone wants to tamper or steal the vehicle. That operator can also notify police in the event something goes wrong.
Starship is targeting H1 2016 for the first trials in the US and UK, putting it on a similar timeframe as the anticipated arrival of drone deliveries.
Source: The Paypers