FedEx has joined forces with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority to develop a fleet of robot couriers. The bots will be delivering items like groceries and small packages. They’ll pick up items from a central location and take them right to the customer’s doorstep. No word yet on when the trials will start but Dubai’s Silicon Oasis is targeted to be the pilot neighborhood.
“We have looked at this technology and we feel it will work as a good product delivery service for Dubai. If you have a residential area with a small shopping mall or supermarket, you will be able to buy something online and have it delivered via robot,” said Ahmed Bahrozyan, chief executive of the public transport agency at the RTA.
FedEx Delivery Robots Travel on Sidewalks and Along Roadsides
As far as FedEx’s delivery robots go, they are designed to travel on sidewalks and along roadsides, safely taking smaller items to homes and businesses. Lidar, multiple cameras, and machine-learning algorithms help the bot to detect and avoid obstacles along with navigating a safe and efficient route.
The FedEx delivery robot is battery powered and can travel up to 10 mph. If need be it is able to navigate unpaved surfaces, steep inclines, curbs, and even steps. The bot also features screens on the front and back to help it communicate with pedestrians. A screen on the front says “hello” while a screen on the back indicates its direction of travel and whether or not it’s about to stop.
Dubai Hoping to Make All Road Trips Driverless by 2030
FedEx recently signed an agreement with RTA’s self-driving congress under the terms of Dubai’s autonomous transportation strategy. Dubai is hoping to reduce traffic and pollution along with making about 25 percent of all road trips driverless by 2030.
“Autonomous delivery to the doorstep of the customer is in early development, but we will select certain communities as a starting point and go from there. We need to test it to see how people interact with the service and how reliable it is. Then we will decide if there is a path towards wider implementation in Dubai,” said Bahrozyan.