Estonian robot courier beats off competition from Renault to take an innovation award

A self-driving robot courier, developed by the Viljandi-based Estonian tech company, Cleveron, won in the Last Mile Delivery Innovation category at the Parcel and Postal Technology International Awards in Amsterdam.

The award, presented at the 2019 Parcel+Post Expo in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, recognises companies that are leading the way in improving last mile delivery. Last mile delivery is defined as the movement of goods from a transportation hub to the final delivery destination, typically a personal residence. The focus is to deliver items to the end user as fast as possible.

Beating off competition

Cleveron’s robot courier, first revealed in 2018 at the Robotex International conference in Tallinn, Estonia, beat off competition from six other companies, including FedEx (SameDay Bot) and Renault (Ez-Flex electric light commercial vehicle).

“Estonian parcel locker manufacturer Cleveron has developed a new self-driving delivery robot, designed to automate the last mile by depositing parcels at compatible lockers,” the Parcel and Postal Technology International, a UK-based postal technology magazine and the coordinator of the awards, said.

“The vehicle is loaded with parcels at the depot before traveling autonomously to predesignated locations where the drone pulls up alongside the compatible parcel locker and deposits the package inside using a robotic arm. The entire process is undertaken autonomously, which means that recipients don’t need to be in to receive their parcels. The recipient then receives a notification on their smartphone saying the package has arrived.”

Bringing robots to the streets of Estonia

Cleveron’s robot weighs about 100 kilograms (220 lbs) and can deliver packages weighing up to 200 kilograms (440 lbs). The robot can make deliveries in both day and night. The company, so far mostly known for its pick-up towers installed in some Walmart stores across the United States, has said its aim is to bring the robots to the streets of Estonia by 2020.

The 2019 edition of Parcel+Post Expo attracted more than 4,000 attendees from some 97 countries at the beginning of October. Over 200 international exhibitors presented their latest innovations at the free-to-attend exhibition, with everything from drone parcel delivery and zero-emission fleets, to advancements in robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) on display.

The Parcel and Postal Technology International Awards recognise and reward the latest developments in the postal sector. The judging panel is made up of major decision makers in the world’s postal, courier and e-commerce firms.

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