Delivery in 30 to 40 minutes
French retail chain Casino’s Franprix have started to run test trials of a delivery robot that will roam the streets of Paris’s 13th arrondissement (borough).
Casino’s Franprix is one of Europe’s oldest mass-retail groups and is estimated to have over 220,000 employees. The supermarket group is entering into the express delivery market in direct competition to Amazon Prime services in the French capital.
The automated delivery service will be autonomous and free according to the Jean-Pierre Mochet Franprix’s managing director.
The plan is to put three robots through their paces in one store and then judge their performance with the intention to roll them out to others stores within the Parisian capital.
The robots in question have been developed by Franprix’s partner the French robotic start-up TwinswHeel.
TwinswHeel was founded in 2016 and are a leading developer of French autonomous delivery robotics. Its two wheeled robots are capable of carrying 40 litres of shopping, or if those liters were water then it would be roughly 88 pounds.
The company also sees many uses for the robots within the manufacturing sector as seen in the example video below;
Each electric vehicle has two wheels and is capable of traveling a distance of 15 miles.
In the robots first few months on the job they won’t be thrown into the deep end and released onto the streets of Paris, instead it will use facial and image recognition software to pair itself with a shopper.
Shoppers with reduced mobility can pair themselves to the robot who will then follow them around the shop and if needs be will help them take their produce straight to their home.
For the first few month of the trial the robots will be accompanied by a human chaperone any time that they leave the store to navigate the streets, this is mostly due to the fact that the robot doesn’t have a legal right to be on the streets unaccompanied.
“François Alarcon, innovation manager at Franprix, commented that:” We were looking for new ways to meet the needs of consumers. Recalling the company’s promise for delivery in 30 to 40 minutes”
“We are also anticipating future transportation issues in the cities. For example, tomorrow, if the streets close to traffic or integrating tolls, we must now think of solutions.”