Japanese scientists and technology companies are coming up with new ways to deal with employee shortages in the sphere of delivery and courier service. How exactly? By introducing a robot that can deliver food to your home.

Robot Delivery: New Tests in Japan

Anabel Cooper for | ZMP

Japanese scientists and technology companies are coming up with new ways to deal with employee shortages in the sphere of delivery and courier service. How exactly? By introducing a robot that can deliver food to your home.

A Japanese corporation ZMP is launching robot tests this August, and it may be the next step in the evolution of robotic technologies that are aimed at easing the lives of people.

Who Is The Robot?

A delivery robot in the process of testing is a red box that measures 109 cm and 133 cm in height and lengths respectively. So no, it does not look like a creepy human being that has already been developed in Japan. At least, for now. It is designed to carry up to 100 kilograms of anything (and that can feed up to 60 people) with an approximate speed of 4 miles an hour. It has its own navigating system and a map, sensors and cameras that allow it to self-drive. These, for now, are its main technical capabilities. The next developments will be control of food temperature, and, perhaps, voice control and speaking abilities, however, the latter has not been confirmed by ZMP executives.

The name of the robot is CarraRo.

The robot will be tested together with a local sushi delivery company Ride on Express Co. Upon making a sushi order, a customer will receive a code on their smartphone that will allow them to unlock the robot and get their order out. Similar testing attempts have been undertaken by Domino’s Pizza in Australia, where they tested a delivery robot a year ago. Foodpanda is another food delivery company that has tested the robotic delivery in Singapore.

It is worth mentioning that drone delivery is another viable alternative. Rakuten and Airmap, two companies based in Japan and USA, have formed a joint venture in order to produce drones designed for delivery service. These drones will have to have a joint communication system to prevent accidents and be completely automated. The main advantage of an on-land robot alternative is that it is much safer for the device itself since regulating air space safety is much more difficult than on-land transportation. Also, heavy and bulky products are better delivered by land.

In any case, before robots or drones are able to deliver food or any other goods to real customers, massive testing on public roads or in the public air space will have to take place. This testing is subject to severe control and regulation on the part of the Japanese government. And while it is in the government’s best interest to remedy the shortage of couriers in the Japanese labor market, it is clear that self-driving machines of any kind will not be permitted on the roads until they are fully tested and proven safe enough for public roads. According to the experts, this could take another 3 to 5 years. Japan has passed legislation similar to the one in the US, which limits the use of drones over densely populated areas, after a recent incident with the Japanese Prime Minister.

In any case, robot delivery is not such a distant future after all, and recent developments show that there is significant market demand for such type of delivery.

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of RoboticsTomorrow

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