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Forum Virium: Autonomous robot delivers packages to residents in Helsinki

Forum Virium: Autonomous robot delivers packages to residents in Helsinki
Forum Virium Helsinki | Vesa Laitinen

[Forum Virium] No queuing at busy pick-up points – an electric robot planned by Forum Virium Helsinki is operating in Hyväntoivonpuisto in Jätkäsaari, Helsinki, providing an easy way for residents to pick up their packages.

The increase in the population of the Jätkäsaari district of Helsinki, Finland creates additional needs for urban logistics. With the growth of e-commerce, logistics companies are also in need of new solutions for easier deliveries. The delivery of DB Schenker packages to customers will be tested in the Hyväntoivonpuisto area of Jätkäsaari with the help of an autonomously moving, electric delivery robot. This pilot started in Jätkäsaari on the 02 November 2021 and will continue until the 10 December 2021.

“Last mile deliveries in particular can be challenging in cities. The pilot is based on the desire to determine how an autonomous delivery robot could help with this challenge,” says Project Planner Matias Oikari from Forum Virium Helsinki.

The participants in the pilot include the startup company LMAD, which is in charge of operating the delivery robot; GIM Robotics; the City of Helsinki’s innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki; and DB Schenker, which will use the delivery robot as its pick-up point.

A delivery robot can serve as an additional solution in urban areas
“DB Schenker is actively involved in the innovation of the logistics industry. In Finland, we have developed package pick-up points in particular to facilitate smooth flows of goods to various residential environments. We study the use of delivery robots as one pick-up point solution for densely populated urban areas,” says Antti Jarva, who is in charge of DB Schenker’s package business in Finland.

The startup company LMAD is in charge of operating the robot. “For us, this is an excellent opportunity to test an autonomous delivery service with the residents of Jätkäsaari. We want to learn how our solution brings additional value to both residents and our partner, DB Schenker. Our aim is to offer a service that is a convenient, flexible and environmentally friendly option while simultaneously reducing logistics costs,” says Co-founder, Product Lead Gergely Horváth from LMAD.

The Jätkäsaari delivery robot pilot is a part of the Last Mile Autonomous Delivery innovation project funded by EIT Digital. This project aims to develop and bring to the market a software platform for controlling, managing and optimising autonomously moving delivery robots. LMAD is the spin-off company created in the project to commercialise the results and operate the platform and the robots.

Safety is taken into account
The delivery robot stops at several locations in Hyväntoivonpuisto for the pickup of packages. The robot moves at walking speed along pavements. During the pilot, it is accompanied by an operator who monitors the robot and simultaneously ensures safe mobility. The robot is equipped with sensors implemented with lidar technology, which continuously observe the surroundings. The robot stops immediately when there is an obstacle in its path.

Forum Virium: Autonomous robot delivers packages to residents in Helsinki

The notification sent to you will include a pin code for opening the locker and picking up your package from inside the robot.
Forum Virium Helsinki | Vesa Laitinen

Picking up a package from the delivery robot resembles picking up a package from the parcel lockers found in public spaces: the pin code needed to open the locker is sent to the recipient by text message, and the recipient enters it into the robot.

The robot is roughly 1.5 metres tall and features 13 lockers, the smallest of which is 10 cm x 44 cm x 53 cm in size, while the largest lockers are roughly the size of a carry-on bag. The robot delivers packages once a day in the Hyväntoivonpuisto area.

How to pick up a package from the delivery robot in Hyväntoivonpuisto

  • When placing an order, select delivery by DB Schenker and the LMAD robot from the list of options.
  • Shortly before delivery, you will receive a link that allows you to select the exact place and time of delivery.
  • You will receive a notification when the robot is in the selected location at the time agreed upon.
  • The robot will stop at the location for at least 30 minutes.

If you miss this time window, you can still easily pick up your package, as the locations at which the robot stops in the Hyväntoivonpuisto area during the pilot are located near each other. If you do not pick up your package from the robot, you can pick it up later at the R-kioski on Välimerenkatu.