We're living in an extraordinary age where major advancements in robotics are being made on multiple fronts. While a self-aware T-1000 assassin robot may be a ways off, more practical inventions and applications are popping up in the consumer sectors that may alleviate the stress and strain of mundane tasks.
Here comes a shiny new fleet of prototype robotic delivery vans from Starship Technologies, all revved up for real-life trials in London, Dusseldorf and Bern, zipping around town carrying meals to hungry customers via a partnership with take-out services Pronto and Just Eat and carting small packages for Metro Group and Hermes. With dozens of six-wheeled, self-driving Starship vehicles set to prowl city streets, these upcoming tests will provide Starship with comprehensive data and "know-how on running real robotic delivery services" at short distances. If you're thinking about swiping one, beware! The futuristic mini-vans invented by Skype co-founders are equipped with a lock-out mechanism and loudspeakers for theft deterrence.
Although eventually aimed at autonomous operation, the first trials will utilize humans operating the miniature vans remotely through their system of onboard sensors and cameras. After an order is placed, customers will be texted a special PIN number via their cell phone to unlock the van's storage trunk to retrieve their goods or food. Starships are designed to cruise along at 4 mph and work within a 2-3 mile radius of their launch point, zooming in and out of hinged pet doors at restaurants or warehouses to destinations nearby. Would you use one of these adorable drones for your next pepperoni pizza order, or do you prefer the old-fashioned delivery dude option instead?
(Via The Verge)