Driverless vehicles offer autonomous delivery

In a shopping era in which consumers elevate convenience, sometimes dealing with another person can feel like a hassle. In a bid to boost efficiency, more and more services are shifting to self-service technology, from rides to restaurants to stores. Now autonomous devices are taking on delivery services and turning the middleman into a middle-bot.


Swiss startup Teleretail is developing an automated delivery robot to help small businesses keep up with the likes of Amazon, Google, and Mercedes-Benz, who are building their own delivery drones. The two-wheeled driverless device can travel up to 50 miles on one trip to deliver products to urban and rural areas. Teleretail envisions small business using the robot on a subscription basis to make deliveries easier. The company also hopes to provide services to senior citizens by completing tasks such as picking up and dropping off groceries or dry cleaning. 


Similar to the Turing security robot that combines autonomous patrol with ride-along capability, the Loomo Go by Segway can be operated for autonomous delivery or a ride-along. Beyond its ability to navigate by itself using various cameras and sensors, Loomo Go can detect human emotion and interact with people using both English and Chinese. Segway anticipates its use as helping the elderly and those with disabilities as well as assisting customers with fetching and delivering products in stores and hotels.


UK-based online supermarket Ocado is taking meal delivery service to the next level by providing autonomous grocery drop off. Partnering with tech startup Oxbotica, Ocado is beginning its new service with limited availability, offering three categories of pre-selected product deliveries rather than its full store. Although the delivery truck has a passenger up front in case of emergency and to help customers retrieve their order from the cargo hold, the truck makes its rounds autonomously using cameras and sensors.