HeRo delivery robot is braving the cold winter streets of Helsinki
This holiday season, shoppers in Helsinki are getting a little help to ease their gift-buying burden. When they place an online order from a select retailer, a wheeled HeRo robot will deliver their purchase to their home within an hour.
Its name an acronym for "Helsinki Robot," the HeRo is made by French robotics firm TwinswHeel. In fact, the bot is actually one of the company's ciTHy L "delivery droids" running special software and utilizing a customer interface created by Finnish-French company LMAD.
The four-wheeled autonomous robot can carry a maximum payload of 300 kg (661 lb), has a top speed of 25 km/h (16 mph), and can travel up to 20 km (12 miles) on one charge of its quick-swappable lithium battery pack. Like most other wheeled delivery robots, it utilizes a combination of GPS and onboard sensors to navigate and avoid obstacles while en route.
The HeRo has a useful volume of 900 liters (238 gal), although that's split up into individual lockers in which multiple customers' orders are separately contained. Each customer can electronically open only their order's locker, utilizing an app on their smartphone.
In fact, this isn't the robot's first time on the streets of Helsinki. This May thru August, it was used to deliver tools from the city's Würth Center warehouse to construction sites in the vicinity.
In this second phase of the same pilot project, the HeRo will be delivering purchases to customers in the Ruoholahti and North Jätkäsaari areas of Helsinki. Using the earlier-mentioned app, those people can choose between a number of retailers taking part in the experiment, then place an order for the desired item.
You can see a demo of the process in the video below.
The project is being run by the City of Helsinki’s innovation company, Forum Virium Helsinki, and is part of the larger European Union URBANE project. It's taking place from now until the end of the year. In the next phase of the project, scheduled for next spring, the partnering groups will look into ways of optimizing delivery routes.