Last week, Vilnius became the first European city to introduce a small fleet of autonomous delivery robots on public roads.
Developed by Estonian startup Clevon and in collaboration with Lithuanian delivery platform LastMile, three driverless robots are now delivering groceries to shoppers’ doors in the capital’s city centre.
The robots pick up the goods at the IKI supermarket on Mindaugas Street. After ordering, the customer receives an SMS with the arrival time and the code to unlock the vehicle door. And the best part? Delivery is free of charge.
“We believe that these robots will give us a significant advantage in the delivery sector, as customers can get their goods quickly even in city centers and even during peak times,” said Tadas Norušaitis, CEO and co-founder of LastMile. That counts over 300,000 users in Lithuania.
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To put it in numbers, the fleet can deliver seven orders in the New and Old Town districts of Vilnius in a single trip.
Clevon claims its autonomous carriers are both flexible and sustainable. They are electric and have different sized compartments to accommodate both smaller and larger orders.
For safety reasons, the robots drive at a maximum speed of 25 km/h. They have 360-degree cameras and radars to navigate the streets and are remotely monitored in real-time by teleoperators.
This groundbreaking deployment follows a pilot project last year in the Vilnius suburb of Balsiai. In three months, the robots traveled 2,000km and demonstrated their ability to work efficiently in a variety of conditions including rain, snow and dirt roads.
Most importantly, they received positive customer feedback. “The test paid off with an overall score of 4.8 out of 5 and buyers were keen to try the innovation,” said Norušaitis.
In 2020, Clevon became the first company in Europe to receive approval to operate unmanned delivery robots on public roads. The company is currently expanding its services across the continent, the United States and the Middle East.