Aalto University Campus near Helsinki in Finland piloted the platform from Last Mile Autonomous Delivery, which provides another way of getting goods to customers during the pandemic.
EIT Digital-supported innovation activity Last Mile Autonomous Delivery (LMAD) has unveiled a software platform to operate multiple types of autonomous delivery robots (ADRs).
After operating the solution at Nokia’s Paris-Saclay campus in France, the LMAD start-up, which has been incorporated to commercialise the solution, has undertaken further trials near Helsinki, Finland.
In August, a pilot was run at Aalto University Campus where local K-Market grocery store offered customers the option of ordering their groceries online and having them delivered by LMAD’s autonomous delivery robot.
The rationale was in times of a pandemic, this option would help meet the safety needs of customers.
“I believe that the more options the customers have, the better,” said Aleksi Tapani, owner of K-Market Otaniemi. “With the robot, we have been giving customers one additional option to receive the goods for themselves, without as much human interaction as there might be when doing the traditional delivery.”
“The question is how to make last-mile delivery profitable. Automatisation and robotics can be part of the solution, that’s why I was keen on getting in this pilot and seeing what it would bring”
Meeting customers’ expectations, however, does not play out in terms of margins, as part of the cost of the delivery is absorbed by merchants.
“The question is how to make last-mile delivery profitable. Automatisation and robotics can be part of the solution, that’s why I was keen on getting in this pilot and seeing what it would bring,” continued Tapani.
K-Market Otaniemi has since decided to take part in the next LMAD operation, which will take place in October 2020.
In addition, LMAD has announced it will be deploying a full delivery service at Nokia’s campus in the outskirts of Paris by the end of 2020, and a further “test drive” of the platform in Finland in November. New pilots are also being planned elsewhere, to test the platform with robots from other manufacturers.
“So far, we have been using robots made by our partner GIM Robotics but we will soon operate an ADR produced by the French manufacturer TwinswHeel, which is also part of our partner team, and possibly another manufacturer next year,” added Jean-Philippe Bellaiche, CEO of LMAD.
“LMAD is an open, flexible platform, that can work with several providers. This is something which differentiates us from potential competitors.”
EIT Digital is a European digital innovation and entrepreneurial education organisation that aims to support the creation of a strong digital Europe.
EIT Digital said it is focused on building and scaling ventures, and on breeding and up-skilling talents to equip them with both digital and entrepreneurial skills. It seeks to achieve this by mobilising a pan-European ecosystem of more than 300 top European corporations, SMEs, start-ups, universities and research institutes.
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