So, I’ll let you into a secret here. Getting hold of your eye balls and selling you something is a tricky job. So press teams up and down the land are always dreaming up ways of getting their client on pages like this. Here it’s delivery firm Hermes, but they’ve done a little more than some of the companies we’ve been approached by. Many will basically just stick a flag on the top of a Starship Delivery Drone (as pictured above and below) and tell you that they have delivering “on a trial basis”.
When we see the phrase “on a trial basis” we usually read “we bought one and took some snaps of it, because it’s great PR”.
Indeed, we’ve seen other companies doing this too, like Just-eat.co.uk. However, the people at Hermes have at least produced a rather nice YouTube video, and they’ve already delivered a number of parcels this way. They are also honest enough about who created the robot, so here it is…
The company is about to test a number of parcel collections in the London borough of Southwark. This follows a successful project involving three robots by Hermes Germany around the Ottensen, Volksdorf and Grindel suburbs of Hamburg.
Initially, the trial will allow Hermes to offer limited 30 minute time slots for the collection of parcels, but they’re hoping that the robots can offer Hermes greater scheduling and tracking capabilities.
Why not drones? Well, many towns, cities and suburbs have strict aviation laws, so these secure robots can instead chug along the footpath carrying up to 10KG of packages. When the robot arrives, consumers open the robot via a link on their smartphone app. Each robot has six wheels and travels up to 4mph per hour. They are intended to be used within a 2 mile radius of a Hermes control centre, where packages are loaded and the robots get recharged. The robots can be almost fully autonomous in the future, but can always be connected to a human operator via the internet and GPS.