The sight of robots delivering groceries to Singaporeans’ homes is already happening in Punggol.
A one-year public-private trial use on autonomous robots from OTSAW has been announced, providing on-demand deliveries to consumers in Punggol. The trial involves two of OTSAW’s robots that will deliver parcels and groceries to the lift lobbies of seven Waterway Woodcress housing & development board (HBD) blocks. It will assess not only how well the robots can autonomously navigate, detect and avoid obstacles, but also the capability of Singapore’s infrastructure for the continued use of these robots as well as business models for commercial viability.
The trial is expected to give more convenience and faster deliveries to consumers as they will be able to indicate when they want their items to be delivered instead of following a fixed delivery schedule. Items such as groceries, food, flowers and even medicine can be delivered through the robot couriers. Additionally, consumers can drop off items at concierge counters to be delivered at a time of their choosing while continuing to shop or dine out without having to carry their purchases around.
A mobile app will notify consumers when the robot is on its way to their residence and when it has arrived. To ensure that only an authorised person receives the items stored in the robot, the robot will show a QR code for the authorised person to scan with their mobile phone.
The robot courier has passed the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) safety assessment for the supervised use of autonomous vehicles on public paths. The robot weighs 80 kilograms when unloaded and will only travel at speeds of up to five kilometres an hour. A safety officer will accompany these robots during the trial period in Punggol for public safety.
The trial for these robots is led by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in partnership with the LTA, HBD, Urban Redevelopment Authority, logistics service provider CM logistics, supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice and OTSAW.
Kee Lay Cheng, HBD’s Group Director for Properties and Land, stated that the government is “continually seeking new opportunities to better serve… residents and shoppers, including leveraging innovative technologies such as the Last-Mile delivery by autonomous robots.” She also added that they are hoping that this test will provide for “greater convenience” and enhance the retail experience for the residents of Waterway Woodcress.
Written by John Paul Joaquin