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Autonomous Robot Cars to Deliver Medicine Around London

Kar-go autonomous robotic vehicle

The Academy of Robotics aims to give Kar-go a firm foothold in the last-mile delivery market.

Credit: Academy of Robotics

A fleet of autonomous, electrically-powered robot vehicles has started delivering medicine to care homes in London's Borough of Hounslow as part of a public trial. The Kar-go, from U.K. startup Academy of Robotics, will be the first custom-built autonomous delivery vehicle to conduct last-mile deliveries on public roads in Britain.

The robot car can travel at 96 kilometers (60 miles) per hour, carry a maximum load of 48 parcels, and use artificial intelligence to sort out parcels and calculate the speediest delivery route. The initial trials will have human operators sitting inside the Kar-gos, before they eventually transition to fully autonomous driving.

The vehicle will drive itself to and from the sender and recipient's locations, with a smartphone application alerting the recipient upon arrival. A robotic conveyor within the Kar-go enables contact-free parcel handover.

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