Delivery robots on the move Big toys or visitors from Mars?

Delivery robots on the move Big toys or visitors from Mars?

Delivery robots on the move Big toys or visitors from Mars?
Robots manage an entire hotel
The Hotel Henn-na is operated almost entirely by robots.  It opened on July 17th and is located in the Huis Ten Bosch amusement and amusement park in Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan.  Source: © Huisten Bosch
At least eight robots work in the hotel.  They are used at reception, in service, as porters, in locker management and when cleaning.  Source: © Huisten Bosch
The hotel initially opened with 72 rooms.  After a successful test run, double the number is planned with 144 rooms.  Source: © Huisten Bosch
Reception with robots
Here one of the reception robots introduces itself Source: Screenshot
The English-speaking guests have to put up with the dinosaur.  But he should be just as friendly and smart as the Japanese colleague.  Source: screenshot
This is the fully automatic luggage rack.  Source: screenshot

Drivers step on the brakes, children want to play with it and seniors want a shopping helper: delivery robot “Robbie” caused a sensation on its first tours through the Grafental district of Düsseldorf. After the start of the pilot at the end of September, the reactions to the small parcel carrier on six wheels have so far been consistently positive, reports Media-Saturn spokeswoman Eva Simmelbauer. The electronics store chain was the first German trading company to have the robot, developed by the Estonian company Starship, roll across German streets. Around 50 of the small vehicles are already in use worldwide.

Older people in particular wanted spontaneous support when they met the little robot – for example, when transporting their heavy purchases, reported supervisor Dino Dessi from the manufacturing company Starship. Children, on the other hand, wanted to play with the robot, which was reminiscent of an oversized toy, and made their first attempts at climbing.

But instead of heavy shopping bags full of milk, bread and jam, the vehicle has electronics from the specialist retail chain on board on its tours. In another test in Hamburg, the robots deliver parcels to several hundred test households on behalf of the logistics company Hermes. They are also already on the move in London or the Estonian capital Tallinn.

The robot laws

During the trial phase, which lasts at least until the end of the year, at least two people are usually involved. When traveling outside of his home location in Estonia, “Robbie” is generally accompanied on foot by a so-called “handler”. And an “operator” at the headquarters in Tallinn is also constantly connected to the remote-controlled robot. Only in Tallinn there have already been the first test drives without a human companion, reported Starship spokesman Philip Schröder.

If the tests are successfully completed, the manufacturer believes that an emergency for the robot could start as early as next year, so that the deliveries would then only be monitored by the operator. In Germany, however, so far only a few hundred test households have been able to use the services of the robot. The electronics store chain will initially offset the still high costs for express delivery with a voucher. After the end of the introductory phase, however, the manufacturer promises low-cost operation of the robot at a cost of around one euro per delivery. This means that the robot is significantly cheaper than conventional delivery methods, it said.

Robots and machine-people in literature, music and film

Customers can book the vehicles via the app and then determine the delivery date themselves. The robot then sets off at walking pace – at around six kilometers per hour – from its station just a few kilometers away. The delivery container can only be opened by the customer at the destination; the delivery is also monitored by the operator, who can alert the police if necessary for such short-term deliveries. The majority of customers do not expect delivery on the same day, but are satisfied with delivery within around two to three working days. But the industry is currently being put under pressure by large mail order companies such as Hedde.

The Verdi union is skeptical and points to high technical requirements and little potential for savings in an industry characterized by precarious employment and low wages. “We do not assume that delivery robots will be used on a large scale for delivery to customers in the future,” said a spokeswoman.