Are you a Southwark resident? If the answer is yes, how do you feel about the prospect of dodging delivery robots as you go about your business?
While the idea of robots taking over the world still feels decidedly futuristic, Hermes has already started trialing robot deliveries over short distances near its control centre in Southwark. So if you’re out and about, it’s a sight you could encounter sooner than you think.
Just like driverless Uber taxis - also being trialed in cities around the world - the obvious argument against robot couriers is their impact on London’s employment levels. Human couriers currently make up a considerable portion of the capital’s workforce. However, the importance of finding greener alternatives to delivery vans is also a major factor.
Dexters is interested to hear what level of success this experiment enjoys. When helping buyers find property in Central London however, our personal touch is always guaranteed.
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The self-driving robots are thought to have several advantages over aerial drones, from being able to carry heavier payloads to being less likely to fall foul of aviation laws. "In the sky, we still have to figure out what a drone highway would look like and figure out some sophisticated collision-avoidance technology," noted Prof Miah. By contrast, Starship's ground-based robots will be kept under close supervision by human operators. Each supervisor will watch over three robots via their on-board cameras and take control of road-crossings and other challenging situations. In time, however, Starship says one operator should be able to control up to 100 robots, which would make its operation more cost effective.