According to Hermes, the company plans to deploy up to four self-driving delivery robots from Estonian startup Starship Technologies in the London Borough of Southwark in the south of the city. The robots will primarily collect returns, but also pick up new parcels for delivery. They will be connected to a human operator, who will monitor their operation and answer questions from pedestrians.
Hermes has already successfully carried out a similar pilot project in Hamburg , where the delivery robots were trialed with selected customers for six months as of last October. During this period, they delivered some 600 parcels and covered approximately 3,500 km; the data and experiences collected are currently being analyzed. Hermes sees huge potential for this mode of parcel transportation, in line with an increasing demand for individual deliveries and ever-stricter legislation on emissions and airspace in towns and cities. In London, for example, since 2014, only electric-driven transport vehicles have been used to deliver parcels.
In Germany, Hermes wants to operate around 1,500 electric-driven vans, in cooperation with Mercedes-Benz Vans, by 2020. The Stuttgart car manufacturer also sees a great deal of potential in delivery robots: At the start of 2017, Mercedes-Benz Vans announced its investment in Starship Technologies , the world’s leading manufacturer of delivery robots.