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Support for post Office mail tests delivery robots

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Support for post Office mail tests delivery robots

Traritrara was yesterday. Soon it is said: "Miep, Miep – The post is here!"

Mail carriers of Deutsche Post are to be given robotic accompaniment in future. Already from coming week so-called Postbot goes into test mode!

The CEO Jürgen Gerdes announced on Wednesday in norrn Hessian bad Hersfeld. First, robot is tested for six weeks in two delivery districts.

The purpose of four-wheeled, 1.50-metre-high companion is to relieve postal couriers by hauling shipments for m. At step, little bot follows his ship, stops from obstacles and is also supposed to be able to overcome curbs.

Up to 150 kilos can be Postbot TransportierenFoto: Jens Meyer/AP Photo/DPA

How he does this, for reasons of competition, remains a secret of operation. Post-boss Gerdes only reveals that robot recognizes legs of serviceman.

It was developed on basis of a robot by French company Effidence. Top speed: six kilometers. Battery life: eight hours.

► Robotikforscher are also very interested: transport on so-called last mile – route to customer's doorstep – is a billion-dollar market, says Alin Albu-Schäffer. The professor is head of Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics at German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Although re have often been successful transport systems under laboratory conditions, no company has been able to make such a robot actual functioning product.

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The challenge is to build a cost-effective bot that is also safe. The Postbot brings a total load of 330 kilos to wage – 180 kilos of empty weight plus a maximum of 150 kilos. In principle he could become dangerous if he did not stop in time, says Albu-Schäffer.

Union welcomes Postbot

The robot, however, does not have a danger for jobs, says post. Group board Gerdes: "It's about helping people to stay fit for longer."

The Postbot is only to follow its customer. If a passerby runs in way, device slows down abruptly. In test with post-group board Jürgen Gerdes worked on Wednesday AllesFoto: Swen Porter/DPA

The Verdi trade union also sees advantages: high weights are a problem for service workers, so we welcome attempt with companion robot.

The city of Bad Hersfeld has granted a special dispensation for robot and wants to test Postbot itself in administration.

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