The Panasonic Japanese Corporation has started using auxiliary propelled unmanned robots to deliver various goods and basic necessities. The emergence of this innovative solution is associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The robot looks like a small protected capsule, inside which you can safely place orders. As a tribute to the traditional Japanese love for an aesthetic concept that emphasizes innocence, childishness and puerility, the car is endowed with large round eyes and raised eyebrows on the front part.
The testing ground became the smart city of Fujisawa, built in 2014 on the site of a former Panasonic Factory by a consortium of 18 major Japanese technology companies. The courier made its first “steps” on the city’s roads at the end of November, and full testing in other cities should start in February 2021. By this time, the creators of the electronic delivery service expect to receive the necessary permits from ministries and services regulating traffic on public roads. After all, as you know, representatives of Panasonic since the beginning of this year are part of the working commission, which unites public and private sector figures. It was created this initiative group for the main task – to work out the legislative framework for the use of unmanned robots by delivery services.
The courier is connected to the control center via an internet channel. An operator continuously monitors the robot’s movement and the surrounding environment. At the same time, the car tries to do as much as possible without human help, using sensors and other built-in systems to prevent collisions and derailments. In case automation cannot cope with the situation, the operator can enable manual remote control of the courier. The maximum speed at which the unmanned delivery vehicle will move along the route will be approximately 4 kilometers per hour.
The project should prove the possibility and effectiveness of using robots for contactless delivery, which has recently become increasingly relevant. According to the developers of the car, the new coronavirus pandemic has promoted an explosive growth in the number of online purchases, but the labor scarcity in a number of industries, including order delivery, has proved to be a big problem for Japan.
According to the company’s representatives, self-driving unmanned robots will not only reduce the load on the staff of delivery services, but also the possibility of contactless delivery of luggage and products using a special application on a smartphone.