More delivery robots on the streets
The delivery sector is experiencing many changes to address consumers’ ever-growing demands. On Tuesday, it was announced that Starship Technologies, a company developing small self-driving robotic delivery vehicles, has significant expansion plans. The robotics specialist company expects to have a fleet of a thousand delivery robots by 2019. The small robots already operate on 2 university and work campuses, including Mercedes Benz in Germany where robots deliver parcels internally, but hopes to increase this to 20 campuses in the UK, US and Germany. Furthermore, Starship Technologies has conducted trials with Just Eat delivering takeaways in South London and is now also partnering with the Co-op in Milton Keynes, the UK’s testing ground for autonomous cars, to deliver groceries.
The robots operate at a top speed of 10mph and are accompanied by a human assistant in busy areas. They can travel up to 3 miles and have ultrasonic sensors to detect obstacles, nine cameras, radar and GPS installed. Before the parcel arrives at its destination, the recipient gest a text message with a link to unlock the robot and collect the package.
To read more about these plans, click here.
Alibaba to start blockchain project for product authenticity purposes
Food fraud is still a global challenge, even more so as supply chains become more complex. This week, Alibaba, the Chinese multinational e-commerce company, announced it is running a blockchain pilot project with the help of two Australian food brands to increase supply chain transparency with Australian products. The project will use Alibaba’s new blockchain traceability system named Food Trust Framework to track international shipments to increase consumer confidence, trust and transparency within cross-border trade. If the project is a success, it will hopefully be implemented in Alibaba’s world markets.
As part of the new pilot project, products from Australian vitamin brand Blackmores and New Zealand dairy brand Fonterra will be tagged with unique QR codes so that they can be authenticated, verified and recorded throughout the shipping journey. Constant reports on products will also be provided. This program is similar to one launched by rival JD.com last year.
More information about this can be found here.
A robotics company gets funding to support expansion into logistics
On Wednesday, Soft Robotics revealed it has received $20 million in funding to support its plans to enter the logistics and e-commerce market. The robotics company already designs and builds pliable robotic grippers for the food industry, which can pick up objects thanks to automation and vision-guided software that allows the grippers to mold themselves around an object without causing any damage.
With its technology, Soft Robotics wants to take robots in industrial environments away from the standard repetitive and programmed tasks, by providing them with the capability to pick up and move a range of products of various weights and sizes. A lot of companies in the logistics market are turning to these tools and automation in their warehouses due to the rapid increase of online sales and tough labor market. Moreover, Soft Robotics is also launching SuperPick – a new retail and logistics application that uses a combination of artificial intelligence and human assistance to educate the robots on how to pick up a range of different goods. If the robot loses its grip of the products, the warehouse worker can step in to help.
To find out more about this, click here.
Have a great weekend!
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