Last week, Vilnius became the first European city to introduce a small fleet of autonomous delivery robots on public roads.
Developed by Estonia-based startup Clevon and in collaboration with Lithuanian delivery platform LastMile, three driverless robots are now bringing groceries to shoppers’ doors in the capital’s city centre.
The robots pick up the goods from the IKI supermarket store on Mindaugas Street. After making their order, customers receive a text message with the arrival time and the code to unlock the vehicle’s door. And the best part? Delivery is free of charge.
“We believe that these robots will give us a significant advantage in the delivery sector, as customers will receive their goods quickly, even in the city center, and even during peak hours,” said Tadas Norušaitis, CEO and co-founder of LastMile, which counts over 300,000 users in Lithuania.
To put it in numbers, the fleet can deliver seven orders in a single run within Vilnius’ New Town and Old Town districts.
Clevon claims its autonomous carriers are both flexible and sustainable. They’re electric and come with different-sized compartments to accommodate both smaller and larger orders.
Safety-wise, the robots travel at a maximum speed of 25km/h. They feature 360-degree cameras and radars to navigate the streets and they’re monitored remotely in real-time by teleoperators.
This landmark deployment follows a pilot project last year in the Vilnius suburban district of Balsiai. Within three months, the robots travelled 2,000km and demonstrated their ability to operate efficiently in a variety of conditions, including rain, snow, and unpaved roads.
But most importantly, they received positive customer feedback. “The trial paid off with an overall score of 4.8 out of 5, and shoppers were keen to try the innovation,” said Norušaitis.
In 2020, Clevon became the first company in Europe to obtain approval for operating unmanned delivery robots on public roads. Currently, it’s further expanding its services across the continent, the US, and the Middle East.