Delivery bot Kar-go has become the first autonomous delivery vehicle to travel on the roads in the UK in a trail in London.
Designed to offer a contact-free form of delivery, the electric vehicle, developed by Academy of Robotics, is making its first deliveries from pharmacies to care homes and will later introduce deliveries from a depot to work sites.
The company is working with partners Eurovia UK, which maintains and improves mych of the UK’s road network.
To ensure greater control of the interaction and operation of the system, Academy of Robotics designed and custom-built the vehicle Kar-go along with the software which controls and runs the vehicle and also the integration with the Command Hub.
From the Command Hub they have instant, secure access to remote monitoring and supervision of the vehicle while it is in autonomous mode.
William Sachiti, CEO and founder of Academy of Robotics, said: “What makes Kar-go magical for me is that we applied artificial and robotics in a useful, but good way: the technology is there when it is needed and out of the way when it isn’t.
“Unlike many iterations of artificial intelligence systems on the internet today that want something from you or want to keep you in some app or drive you to make buying decisions, we don’t.
“As complex as Kar-go is, its function is very simple, a very complex machine performing a simple task, only when required.”
These first autonomous road deliveries follow years of data gathering and testing using both simulators, real world environments and live technology trials in locations like rural Wales and Surrey in the UK and will focus on the arrival and departure procedures, where no human contact is involved right up to receipt of the package.
The DVSA inspected and approved the Kar-go vehicle as roadworthy in October, a critical step in the bot's development.
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean added: “Autonomous delivery vehicles, such as Kar-go, can offer safer and speedier delivery of medical supplies to those who need it the most.
“The UK is well-placed as a science superpower to lead the world in this area and I’m delighted to support projects hat drive green innovation, promote a clean transport future and help the economy.”