The Greek city of Trikala will be the first ever in Europe to pilot the use of fully automated 'delivery droids', through the collaboration of e-Trikala, the University Research Institute of Communication and Computer Systems (EPISEY) and the University of Geneva within the European programme SHOW.
For their first task, the droids started at the "Elves' Mill", delivering letters written by children from the Elves' Post Office to "Father Christmas". Their next task will be to negotiate the pedestrianised road of Asklipiou in the city centre to deliver mail, newspapers and small packages from suppliers to local shops.
According to the municipality, the "droids" are trained through the use of lasers and a charted route to not only move along a preset route but also recognise obstacles in their path, modifying their movements according to the movement of pedestrians, bicycles and other unpredictable factors they may encounter.
The aim of the pilot project is to test whether they can be used as a solution for the transportation of goods in city centres, taking into account traffic, time, electrical load and other technical data.
Similar droids are already used inside controlled, indoor spaces and the aim is to see whether they can be used in a normal urban environment with many unpredictable factors.
The delivery robots are constructed by the Italian firm YAPE.