droids, not drones, the future of e-commerce deliveries
The futuristic dome was originally built as a showcase for the London Millennium.
It looks like a picnic cooler on a wheel buzzing among a group of dumbfounded kids.
Later this year, the small delivery robot, designed for self-driving sidewalks rather than roads, will start delivering goods directly to customers from local businesses.
By doing so, it may conquer e-commerce.
The ultimate frontier of business: The Last Mile, the most inefficient and problematic step in the delivery process.
\"30-40% of the cost of delivery comes from the last mile,\" said Alan Martinson, chief operating officer of Starship Technologies, the company that built the robot.
The project was the idea of Ahti Heinla, one of Skype\'s original developers, and supported by billionaire Skype
Janus Friis, founder and technology investor.
Small delivery robot designed by StarCraft and rival AmericaS.
The startup named Dispatch is BB-8s and Wall-E\'s of e-commerce.
These chaotic robots are the most powerful force against technology.
Amazon, like Wal-Mart, is testing airborne dronesWalmart and Google
Google also seeks patents for a driverless truck that will carry a range of lockers that can be unlocked via text messages.
Uber is deploying drivers for food delivery services, a concept that could be extended to other products.
Don\'t forget the on-the-job staff from FedEx and UPS to the government postal service.
While Starcraft robots may be the first to go public, victory is not guaranteed.
Robots have limitations, and the economic feasibility is limited to urban areas.
The drone tag is more expensive and the regulatory barrier is greater, but it may be cheaper on each dronemile basis.
Some logistics experts say humans still have an advantage over any technology in the foreseeable future.
Fi inspires competitors.
Heinra, a tall, gaunt Estonian, with a messy blonde hair and an engineer\'s messy appearance, said the delivery robot had their advantage.
Smaller robots are easier and cheaper to make.
Because StarCraft robots weigh less than 35 pounds and travel slowly, they are less likely to cause damage.
Unlike the drone, there is no rotating rotor blade that can cause damage.
Most importantly, it is driving on the sidewalk, not on the road, which simplifies the approval of the regulatory authorities.
In Britain, Germany, Belgium, Estonia and the United States, StarCraft robots have traveled more than 1,900 miles. S.
It is planned to travel more than 50,000 miles this year.
In contrast, drones are being tested in a highly controlled environment and commercial deliveries are suspended until regulators address safety, responsibility, air rights and privacy issues.
So far, driverless cars have only allowed limited testing on public roads.
\"We have tested in snow, mud, ice and rain --
\"You give it a name,\" Martinson said . \"In the U. S.
Starship is testing its robot in Fayetteville, Arkansas, about 35 miles from Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart\'s Bentonville headquarters and an innovation lab at the University of Arkansas, named after the Wal-Mart family
Walmart CEO McMillon
This has led to speculation that the large retailer may be interested in the small robot. Wal-
The FOMC lab at Mart, the internal department investigating various disruptive technologies, said it was monitoring the test plan.
StarCraft will not comment on possible cooperationup with Wal-Mart.
But Martinson said he wanted the first one.
Later this year, commercial customers will start using these robots. San Francisco-
Headquartered in Dispatch, founded by former computer scientists from the University of Pennsylvania and MIT, and backed by Silicon Valley venture company Anderson Horowitz, is also testing its own ground drone, Carry.
Gur Kimchi, an Amazon executive in charge of the Prime Air drone project, said they also considered delivery robots and driverless trucks.
But Amazon thinks drones are better.
\"Other options cannot guarantee very fast, very economical and very safe delivery,\" he said . \".
He says drones can serve rural, suburban and even urban areas.
The delivery robot only works best in urban areas.
Self-driving trucks or delivery drivers will only add to the already congested roads, he said.
Amazon\'s drone, which can carry up to 5 pounds miles per hour at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, will ship between 80% and 90%, Kimchi said.
\"This is a very large subset of our choices,\" he said . \"
In an analysis by investment research firm ARK Invest in May 2015, analyst Tasha Kini estimated that by using drones, Amazon could reduce its delivery costs to less than $1 per pack, or 10 cents a mile.
In order to ensure safety, drones have the \"perception and avoidance\" technology to avoid obstacles --
Or potential danger.
Even dogs at home.
\"If a drone cannot be delivered safely, it will be programmed to abort and fly home,\" kimchi said . \".
Without a clear regulatory framework, Amazon would not be able to start using its drones commercially.
Therefore, the company proposes to retain airspace between 200 and 400 feet for autonomous drones with complex collision avoidance and security functions, while reducing
The technology spacecraft is limited to airspace below 200 feet, which is about 18-story building.
The flying plane will stay above 500 feet of the height of the Washington Monument.
So far, this regulation does not exist anywhere, and anyone can guess how long it may take.
\"I\'m usually impatient and want to get into the market,\" kimchi said . \" He added that he believes the regulatory framework will be in place in less than 10 years.
\"This uncertainty is why Burton White, consultant at Atlanta Chain Home Analytics-
Retailers should wait for adjustments, logistics advisers say.
\"This is still the Wild West,\" he said . \"
\"Automation and drones are something you need to focus on, but they are farther away from you.
\"Because population density is the biggest factor in determining the cost of the last mile, there may not be a solution.
In densely populated cities, Bicycle Express networks may be the best option, while in rural areas, drones may be the most efficient, White said.
Starship says its ideal delivery area is not like a densely populated city like New York or London, with more than 5,000 families per square mile.
But many suburbs and small cities, such as Montreal or Copenhagen, are in the target area of StarCraft.
Heinra has always been interested in robots and even participated in a game at NASA to create a robot that can bring back soil samples from the Mars mission.
But in 2014, heinra was at the last mile of Eureka.
\"I know technically it is possible to make a small robot that is still fast enough, and you don\'t need a large vehicle to do the work done by a large vehicle today,\" he said.
Because small robots are less expensive to make than trucks or drones, Starship is expected to lease them to local shopkeepers, essentially \"robot delivery as a service\", chief operating officer Martin
The target delivery cost is $1. 40 to $4. 20 (£1 to £3)
With each delivery, robots will allow these businesses that are often excluded from e-commerce
He said that through business activities with high delivery costs, online sales began.
If robots are delivered only 15 times a day, businesses may break even, he said.
Starship\'s prototype design will deliver up to 20 pounds of cargo at 4 miles per hour.
\"Its design is basically equivalent to three goods.
\"A big bag of groceries,\" says Martinson.
Because the robot has a simple cargo hold, the customer can use the robot to return the item to the retailer.
Electronic door locks ensure the safety of goods during transportation;
The robot is able to transfer the current location and live video feed from the camera, which is to prevent thieves.
The company plans to complete the delivery within three months of the robot
Miles radius of the central logistics hub using 3g GPS signal navigation.
Flying with nine cameras
Its eye view of the environment and sensors helps to avoid waste of roots, toddlers and dogs.
Humans can drive remotely if robots are in trouble.
With the current battery design, small robots can run continuously for more than two hours before they need to charge or replace the new battery pack.
Martin Sen said the company chose a relatively low
Capacity battery can save weight but may consider longerlife one later.
In the trials to date, Martinson estimates that the spacecraft\'s robots have met about 120,000 pedestrians, including thousands of children.
No one has tried to abuse it so far.
\"The children are curious, but they like it,\" he said . \"Starship co-
Founder Friis says people of all ages seem to greet the little machine with awe.
\"It\'s really great, but people seem to have instant emotional connections with robots,\" he said . \".
Try sending it with a drone.