Swiss Post is teaming up with British company Starship Technologies to trial automated robot parcel delivery.
The testing will begin in September in Bern, the Swiss capital, and Solothurn, where the Federal Roads Office has authorised it.
The company will use small robots in pedestrian zones and on pavements to deliver “special mailings”, some of which require speedy local delivery, such as same day or same hour. In the future this could be used for medicine or food.
The robots run on wheels and can carry up to 10kg in weight. They are fitted with cameras, sensors and GPS technology, which will help them to traverse their environments and avoid any collisions with obstacles.
They are also “smart” in the sense that they will learn from each outing. However, they are not designed to replace existing distribution methods (which presumably means humans) at this stage.
Dieter Bambauer, director of PostLogistics, the division of Swiss Post that will be running the tests, has predicted that delivery robots and drones will be “commercialised within three to five years”.