As is generally known, the new transport technology being the talk of the town involves drones which mega-sized corporations such as Amazon and Google are developing for use as the new air transport alternative. This is because drones are capable of meeting the demand for transport to remote destinations inaccessible by road or otherwise. Nevertheless, we might nowadays want to forget all about drones, at least for a while, due to an innovation about to be discussed, one which seems the equal of drones in terms of capability. Yes, we’re talking about ” Starship, The New Transport Technology “.
Ahti Heinlaand Janus Friis, co-founders of Skype, jointly invented “Starship Technology”, a transport innovation as well as an earth-bound delivery solution by ingenious road-bound delivery robots.
A knee-high six-wheeled earth-bound delivery robot powered by a 50-watt electric motor, Starship has been designed to be user-friendly and very capable as far as ecology is concerned. The two founders’ vision focuses on the three-zero concept encompassing zero cost, zero waiting time and zero environmental impact. Designed to deliver groceries, medicines and small packages weighing no more than 40 pounds, the autonomous robot can roll along on roads or sidewalks at a speed of four miles per hour according to the pre-recorded map and data regarding the surroundings using cameras and radar prior to the actual trip. As such, the delivery can be carried out within 30 minutes after the robot sets out from a local store or a retail shop in suburban areas out of town. Besides, it is equipped with a loudspeaker and a microphone and so can greet passers-by along its route. As for theft-proof safety of goods being delivered, Starship delivery robot is also equipped with HD video camera and GPS to ensure a vivid sight and easy tracking of potential thieves. A further challenge pertaining to delivery trip lies in road crossing at intersections. In this regard, Starship can call for help from its regulator who can monitor its status round the clock to ensure that the problem pertaining to the route that the robot cannot handle can be timely addressed. Facing a large crowd of people crossing the street, Starship will temporarily stop until they have passed. Each delivery costs merely $ 1.00, or five to fifteen times less than a normal delivery by its human counterpart.
The delivery process starts with the customer’s online order which can include specific delivery time. Next, goods will be loaded into the “portable warehouse” located on top of the robot. At delivery destination, the receiving customer only has to touch a button on his smartphone application to be allowed access to the groceries or packages inside that he can instantly use. The customer can also keep track of the robot’s status through the same application.
Delivery by Starship is suitable for customer’s home. Although the day of delivery can be specified, the time cannot. This means the delivery time is flexible in exchange for payable cost and real-time delivery tracking. The technology is in the process of testing being conducted on the model robot as well as different systems with a plan to launch Starship delivery technology in the United States, England and other countries in early 2016.
An interesting logistics-based innovation, Starship is nevertheless faced with legal problems prevailing in individual countries. For example, the laws in some cities in the U.S. allow only certain vehicles to use sidewalks, which means Starship robots are still excluded. Innovations usually call for certain aspects of change, one of which entails an amendment/amendments to the law for the sake of compliance and practicality. So, stay tuned and let’s see what the future brings.