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Nov 28, 2017 02:25 PM EST

Australian Post to test new parcel delivery service using autonomous robots

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The Australian Post is testing a new parcel delivery service using autonomous robots.

According to the Guardian, the Australian Post will test a small autonomous delivery robot named "Billy the Box" for four weeks outside Brisbane, Newfarm. The robot delivers the package to each house, and the user can open the box door and retrieve the parcel through the transmitted unique code. The robot can run on all surfaces and can climb along slopes with a few ramps. It also provides an option for the robot to deliver parcels again in the evening for residents who miss delivery in the near future. However, this robotic test must be accompanied by an Australian Postal Service employee and can only fill one package at a time.

"Robots are designed to receive parcels outside of work hours where Australians are likely to be at home," says Tien-Ti Mak, CTO of the Australian Post Office. "I know how embarrassing it is to see the message that 'there is no recipient,'" he explains. "So I figured out a new way to deliver parcels again in a few hours."

That's why Newfam was chosen as a test area. It is an area where many online buyers live in Australia. That is, testing out-of-hours parcel delivery services is to measure the support or demand of the community receiving parcels in this way. Australia's online buyers average 11.5% nationwide, while Newfarm is 19%.

However, the robotics expert Peter Corke of the Queensland Institute of Technology says, "There is no way to tell how a robot crosses the road, how someone can pick up the robot and carry it away from the truck." Above all, when a person is delivering many parcels in a truck, if a robot and a person deliver a parcel, there's no real value of using the robot.

"The robots weigh about 100kg, so it will not be easy to kidnap," he said. Other safety features include LED lighting, cameras that record trips, and Rumba sensors that detect and avoid obstacles. The Australian Post Office said there are no guidelines yet for when robots will operate without a human involvement.

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