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Singapore residents to receive on-demand delivery from autonomous robot trial

A new public-private trial in Singapore is taking place to test the use of autonomous robots in providing on-demand deliveries in a residential area in Punggol. The trial will pave the way for wider use of autonomous robot couriers in making on-demand deliveries to consumers.

The one-year trial is a multi-agency collaboration led by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), in partnership with Housing & Development Board (HDB), Land Transport Authority (LTA), Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), logistics service provider CM Logistics, supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice and technology provider OTSAW.

Autonomous Robot Features

Robot Trial to Explore Deliveries in Live Environment

“With the growth of e-commerce, consumers have grown accustomed to expecting food, products and groceries to be delivered to their home in increasingly shorter periods of time. Autonomous delivery robots can play an important role in augmenting existing delivery infrastructure to enhance the consumer experience and drive productivity gains. We look forward to working closely with our partners in this trial to test the technology, safety, business model and user experience,” said Mr Kiren Kumar, Deputy Chief Executive, IMDA.

The trial will see two OTSAW robots delivering parcels and groceries to the lift lobbies of seven Waterway Woodcress HDB blocks to assess:

• Technologies such as AI for autonomous navigation, obstacle detection and avoidance
• Infrastructure such as communications systems and road networks (including connectivity and slopes)
• Business models for commercial viability.

Robots Pass Safety Assessment for Use on Public Paths

To ensure public safety, both autonomous robots have passed the LTA’s safety assessment for the supervised use of autonomous vehicles on public paths. The speed for each robot, which weighs 80 kg (unloaded), is further capped at walking speeds (about 5 kmh). Each robot is also accompanied by a safety officer during the trial period.

“Autonomous delivery technology has the potential to increase business efficiency and improve customer convenience. As paths are also used by other users, it is also important to ensure the delivery is carried out in a safe manner. We have worked closely with our partners to put in place safeguards to ensure public safety during this trial and the insights gathered will help improve future similar projects,” said Mr Lam Wee Shann, Chief Innovation and Transport Technology Officer, LTA.

Through a mobile app, consumers will be notified when the robot is on the way to its destination and will receive a confirmation notification that the robot has arrived. The robot will also provide a QR code for recipients to scan at the collection point via their mobile phones, ensuring that only the authorised person will be able to access the assigned compartment and its contents.

“Urban logistics keep the city going by delivering goods to people and businesses efficiently. Employing technology to explore alternate and innovative modes of delivery is one way Singapore builds a world-class urban logistics system that also enhances land and labour productivity. This enables our city to become more liveable, sustainable and connected,” said Mr Chiu Wen Tung, Group Director (Research & Development), URA.

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