Robotic deliveries are increasingly being seriously explored as a lower-cost, greener “last-mile” transportation solution for customers to receive their online purchases, and London Drugs is no exception.
Last week, the BC-based retailer conducted a successful home delivery to a customer in Cloverdale, marking the second phase of a pilot project using Victoria-based InDro Robotics’ ground robots.
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The four-wheeled ROLL-E 2.0 robot was deployed from the parking lot of the London Drugs store at Cloverdale Crossing Mall, travelling along sidewalks and pedestrian routes to reach the customer’s home.
The robot runs at a walking speed and the goods are secured in a sealed compartment that does not open until it reaches the final destination. It can carry loads weighing up to 50 kg and is capable of operations in inclement weather. There is also an interactive touchscreen.
Safety features include running lights, brake lights, signals, and front and rear depth perception cameras for enhanced obstacle avoidance.
“Customers were pleased with both the convenience and experience of having goods delivered to their car by robot,” said InDro Robotics CEO Philip Reece. “This took things further, both literally and figuratively. Delivery robots will one day become commonplace, so London Drugs and the City of Surrey are really ahead of the game.”
Nick Curalli, the vice president of technology solutions for London Drugs, added: “Following a successful pilot debut for ROLL-E earlier this year, we are thrilled to be further exploring its capabilities as we test home delivery in conjunction with InDro Robotics and the City of Surrey. This is an important step for our company as we look for innovative ways to serve our customers in the safest and most convenient way.”
London Drugs and Indro Robotics’ pilot project is supported by the City of Surrey’s Urban Technology Test Lab pilot project, which accelerates such projects towards commercialization.