Skype Self-driving Robot | Robot Taxi | Xingzhe No. 1

Hi there, and welcome to my weekly Robot Update. This is wear I do a round up of what is going on in the Robot news around the world, so stay tuned. 

 

Hi Guys, I’m Philip English from robophil.com, and welcome to the Robot Weekly update number 26.

Skype founders invent self-driving robot that can deliver groceries for £1

You've heard of Amazon's plan to deliver packages using drones; now a new company called Starship is promising to disrupt local delivery with the launch of a self-driving robot that can deliver groceries to customers' doors in under 30 minutes for less than £1.

The Starship robot has been developed by Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis. It drives on pavements at an average speed of 4mph, and uses proprietary mapping and navigation technology to avoid crashing into obstacles, (check out the video we made).

Starship is currently testing and demonstrating prototypes of the robot, and plans to launch pilot services in the UK in 2016. Mr Heinla said the robots are primarily intended for use in suburban areas. One of the first pilot areas will be Greenwich in East London.

Each robot can carry the equivalent of two grocery bags (20lbs). They will operate out of hubs – shipping containers that are specially built or co-located within grocery stores or warehouses. The robots will return to their hubs between deliveries to recharge and be cleaned if necessary.

Customers will be able to book deliveries and track the robot’s progress on their mobile phone in real time. The cargo space will remain locked and secure until the robot arrives outside the customer's front door. The customer can then unlock it using their mobile app and retrieve their groceries.

ROBOT TAXIS being developed for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Japan is planning to develop thousands of driverless robot taxis in time to transport passengers attending the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The self-driving cabs are soon be tested in one Japanese town, and it is hoped by the time the Games hit the country in five years, the technology will already be used on a wide scale.

Tokyo-based company Robot Taxi will start the field tests of the cars by the end of next March in Fujisawa, a large coastal town near Tokyo, where residents will be whisked from their homes along main roads to the supermarket on 3km journeys.

Robot Taxi hopes the trial will enable it to launch thousands of the new cabs by 2020, coinciding with the Olympics, chief executive Hiroshi Nakajima told Quartz.

And he hopes the technology will offer people a cheaper alternative to a 'manned' taxi. 

He said: 'When you look at manned taxis, 70 per cent of the cost is actually related to labour costs.

'If we can replace that part with [artificial intelligence], I think we'll be able to provide a very attractive price point.'

Rather than designing and creating new cars, Robot Taxi hopes to add a driverless function to existing cars. 

Chinese robot sets new walking record at 83 miles

Oftentimes, we’ll see robots that set off alarm bells about the indefatigable automatons coming for you, step by step by step by step. But this ‘lil guy is not the face of the robot apocalypse.

NBC News reports a Chinese-built robot has set a new record for longest distance covered by a quadruped robot by walking about 83 miles, non-stop. Xingzhe No. 1, which means “walker” in Chinese, was a research project from Chongqing University of Post and Telecommunication looking into improving robot durability and efficiency.

The robot performed its record-breaking saunter with 1,405 laps around an indoor gymnasium over the course of three days, all on a single battery charge. That beats the previous record, held by Cornell University’s Ranger, of about 40.5 miles.

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