The Chinese online retail giant has officially introduced a logistics robot that will deliver goods to consumers.
Presented on September 17 during the Apsara conference, the robot courier was named, which can be translated as "Smart Donkey" (小蛮驴, Xiǎománlǘ). It very well describes its purpose: to deliver the "last mile" - the most expensive and inefficient part of the entire delivery chain.
The scope of application of this "smart donkey" is extensive. It is planned to deliver goods to hostels, university campuses, office buildings, and densely populated residential areas. In the light of the coronavirus pandemic, delivery without human intervention is becoming more and more popular, so it is unlikely that robots will be left without work.
It is stated that "Donkey" can transport up to 50 parcels up to 100 km without recharging. Naturally, no one is planning to use the robot to deliver such long distances. According to the creators' plan, it will make up to 10 trips per day, transporting up to 500 parcels daily. It is expected that such robot couriers will continue to cruise between the logistics center and some neighborhoods in the future.
According to Alibaba representatives, the delivery market is continually growing, and in the foreseeable future, the number of daily orders in the country will be billions. At the same time, the value of human labor is increasing in China. So, soon, the need for such robots-couriers will be tremendous. It is not surprising that the Chinese giants of e-commerce have intensified their work in this direction. Earlier, Meituan Dianping and JD.com presented their robot couriers.
Before automated delivery systems become the norm, however, they must pass a series of severe tests. Besides, they will need to make any amendments to existing legislation. There are thus no clear rules about who should be responsible in case of traffic accidents.