In an age of rising demands for contact-free, human-less services, Japan Post Co. unveiled on Wednesday a self-driving mail delivery robot to address the citizens postal needs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Designed with built-in cameras and sensors, the bright red, trolley-sized robot wheeled down Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, dodging people on the sidewalks, utility poles in its path, and deftly making its way across intersections with traffic lights.
The invention is currently undergoing a series of test runs that began on Sept. 18 and plans to run through late October.
One of the tests involves the robot traveling 700 meters from a convenience store in a hospital to a local post office in about 25 minutes.
The ‘DeliRo’ robot developed by ZMP Inc. can stroll at a speed of 6 kilometers per hour, carrying packages that weigh up to 30 kilograms, according to Japan Post, who aim to put the self-driving delivery robots into practical use by 2021.
Based on the test results, the government intends to discuss easing regulations on autonomous delivery robots, which are currently not allowed to run on sidewalks or public roads without human monitoring.
The test run of the DeliRo was realised after Japan Post registered the robot with police as a vehicle.
Japan is currently pushing for autonomous delivery services with hopes to address the starkly acute labor shortages in an overall aging society.
In the United States, automated robots are being used to make house deliveries of things such as medicine and groceries.
[Sourced from Agencies]