October 11, 2022, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
COVID saw a huge uptick in people getting anything and everything delivered to their homes from Lattes and hamburgers to desks and laundry soap. This trend saw an explosion of delivery jobs in the public and private sectors. The cost, environmental and manpower was significant. Many companies are now looking to cut those costs and it seems autonomous delivery bots may be the way.
Forbes recently conducted an interview with the CEO of Starship Technologies, Alastair Westgarth discussing the new autonomous machine economy and its application to delivery service and higher value endeavours as well.
In the interview they discuss all sorts of delivery options. University campuses where autonomous machines deliver food to students at their convenience in an economical manner. Starship has partnered with merchants who were interested in trials and found there was almost immediately massive demand. On campus students would order their lunch on their way out of class for delivery at their next destination and students also ordered dinners o be delivered to their dorms.
In this trial the robots work in a mesh – they don’t always return to the same merchant, rather they make their deliveries from one merchant and shuttle to the next closest one that has orders ready, gets loaded up and continues its run.
The campus experiment is perfect as the space is compact and there is a young user group eager to uptake the new technology. The delivery bots can be seen in front of buildings, running up and down sidewalks, and idling while waiting to be deployed. The company has worked with users to resolve issues around sidewalk congestion and to be a good and tidy corporate citizen.
The programming of the bots is highly complex, and they are all linked to the cloud. Each robot has ‘awareness’ systems that allow them to be responsive to other users, blockages, and objects in their path. They handle payment, route planning and fleet deployment via the cloud. They required connection to the cloud although they can continue to operate for short periods if they encounter a break in cell/Wi-Fi service.
Currently the bots are operating in closed environments like industrial or academic campuses and can deliver things from supplies, parts and samples to food or other goods.
When asked about the displacement of relatively low skilled workers Starship’s CEO said he hopes that they can work together for now, and points to the ethical and moral dilemmas around the tenuous employment of many gig-economy delivery workers.
You can read the whole interview here. Have you had the opportunity to use one of these bots to deliver you goods? What was your experience from the order/customer perspective?
If you are in an accident with one of these auto delivery bots you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer today at Deutschmann Personal Injury and Disability Law today.
image courtesy of Starship