At the end of last year, one may have spotted a peculiar machine driving around in Jätkäsaari in Helsinki, when LMAD startup and DB Schenker tested the effectiveness of an autonomous delivery robot as a pick-up point for parcels. The pilot showed that delivery robots are suited for the urban environment and also function well under winter conditions.
Many heads were turned in Hyväntoivonpuisto park in Jätkäsaari when a peculiar machine travelling at walking speed patrolled the park in November–December. An orange warning signal flashed on the machine as it went, which was more than enough to attract the attention of passers-by. This machine was actually a new kind of delivery robot that transported packages to the residents of Jätkäsaari as part of a local logistics pilot.
The pilot was motivated by the desire to find out how effective an autonomous mobile robot would be as a pick-up point for deliveries and how well delivery robots perform in an urban space. As the volume of e-commerce continues to increase, so, too, does the need for new last mile delivery solutions.
The pilot was a collaboration between start-up company LMAD, which was responsible for the operation of the delivery robot, GIM Robotics, the City of Helsinki’s innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki and DB Schenker, whose pick-up point the delivery robot served as.
The robot was unhindered by winter conditions
The delivery robot pilot produced promising results. Over a period of just over six week, the robot delivered over 100 packages to the residents of Jätkäsaari and Ruoholahti. The packages were ordered from more than ten different online stores.
“The pilot taught us how residents behave with an autonomous delivery robot when they meet one for the first time. The pilot showed that electric delivery robots are well suited to an urban environment such as Jätkäsaari, as they are an environmentally friendly and flexible way of receiving deliveries,” says Co-founder, Product Lead Gergely Horváth from LMAD.
Although challenging winter conditions were encountered during the pilot, the delivery robot performed well. In fact, the operator accompanying the robot did not have to manually intervene in any delivery situation. During the pilot, the robot was able to travel autonomously for a total of approximately 40 kilometres. There were only three days on which the deliveries had to be cancelled due to bad weather.
The delivery robot had several stops around Hyväntoivonpuisto park, where customers could pick up their packages.
The service worked similarly to automated parcel lockers: customers were able to retrieve their parcel from the locker by entering a pin code provided in advance. But unlike parcel lockers, the robot brought the packages closer to the customers’ own doors.
During the pilot, the robot was constantly accompanied by an operator who monitored the robot’s performance while ensuring transport safety.
Feedback on the delivery robot being collected from residents
Forum Virium Helsinki, Hanken School of Economics and LMAD have put out an online survey to determine residents’ general views and experiences of delivery robots as part of delivery services. The survey can also be used to submit feedback about the delivery robot pilot carried out in Jätkäsaari. The survey is part of the iSmile project coordinated by Hanken, which examines sustainable delivery methods.
The survey will remain open until 25 February. You can respond to the survey either anonymously or with your own name. By responding with your own name, you can also participate in a prize draw for film tickets. It takes about 5 minutes to complete the survey form. Thank you for your time in advance!
You can respond to the survey here.
The delivery robot pilot in Jätkäsaari was part of the Last Mile Autonomous Delivery project funded by EIT Digital, which aims to develop and bring to the market a software platform for controlling, managing and optimising various types of autonomous delivery robots. The practical operations are handled by LMAD.
Co-founder, Product Lead
LMAD – Last Mile Autonomous Delivery
Tel. +358 50 338 4244, gergely.horvath(at)lmad.eu
Forum Virium Helsinki
tel. +358 40 664 8877, matias.oikari(at)forumvirium.fi
Photo: Vesa Laitinen