Clevon, an Estonian startup, has made history in the European autonomous delivery landscape with its fleet of driverless carriers. It’s officially been dubbed Autonomous Robot Carriers (ARCs), and has taken to the streets of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.
This is thanks to Clevon’s partnership with the country’s prominent supermarket chain, IKI, and local transportation platform LastMile.
Taking on the ARCs
The ARCs are equipped with lockable compartments of varying sizes, suitable for accommodating a range of grocery orders, from small to large. Functioning as a logistical marvel, these autonomous vehicles can efficiently handle seven customer orders in a single delivery run.
Tadas Norušaitis, CEO and co-founder of LastMile, says that Europe has witnessed the advent of autonomous carriers operating within city centers for the first time. Norušaitis explains the advantage these robots confer upon his company, asserting, “Customers now receive their goods promptly, even amidst the hustle and bustle of the city center, and this extends to peak hours.”
Clevon’s autonomous fleet
As with all autonomous rollouts, this started as a pilot program in a suburban setting, followed by the introduction of autonomous delivery services in Vilnius’ New Town and Old Town districts.
Now, plans are underway to expand the autonomous delivery service to other neighborhoods within the capital. The ARCs have demonstrated adaptability by navigating various challenging conditions, including rain, unpaved roads, snow, and puddles left after rain showers.
IKI, the grocery chain in Lithuania, offers autonomous delivery to its customers at no extra charge. Upon placing an order, customers are notified via text message about the expected arrival time of the autonomous robot and provided with a unique code to unlock the delivery compartment.
How does it work?
Safety remains paramount in this endeavor, with the autonomous carriers operating at a maximum speed of 25 km/h. Their journeys are closely monitored through 360-degree cameras and special sensors, overseen by teleoperators who ensure real-time driving supervision.
While autonomous transport movements are already commonplace within fulfillment centers, where sorting robots have assumed the role of human labor, autonomous delivery vehicles on the streets have remained mainly a small-scale experiment. With the introduction of Clevon’s ARCs, Vilnius is at the forefront of embracing this new technology, promising greater efficiency and convenience for merchants and customers.