Kar-go first road-worthy autonomous delivery-bot in Europe introduced at CAV Scotland
Coming soon to your front door! Meet the Kar-go, an electric, driverless, delivery vehicle that is being demonstrated at CAV Scotland today and tomorrow (13 & 14 November).
Kar-go uses AI based on advanced neural networks to remove up to 90% of the cost associated with the last mile of delivery. Unlike many autonomous vehicles, Kar-go can drive on un-marked roads making it perfect for solving the challenge of last mile deliveries in rural and suburban areas as well as urban environments – and of course it can operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Kar-go is the brainchild of the UK-based startup Academy of Robotics. Using AI to deliver small parcels autonomously the vehicle works in conjunction with an app. Similar to the system used when ordering a pre-booked taxi, recipients can call up their package to be delivered to their location (on the street, by a restaurant or outside their office) when they are ready to receive it and can then track Kar-go’s progress towards their location.
Streamlining the final stage of an online package’s journey, from local depot to the customer’s front door, is the Holy Grail of logistics companies. High costs – for labour, fuel and the vehicle fleet maintenance – all contribute to making this the most expensive part of the delivery process.
The first part of the package’s journey is far cheaper, with high volumes of packages being transported to and from the same location. Conversely, at the other end, drivers transport smaller shipments to several different locations – where the customer may not even be available to collect.
The process becomes even less cost-effective in rural areas where drop-off points are miles apart.
“Britain has a rich heritage in automotive design and a promising future in AI,” said Academy of Robotics founder William Sachiti. “In creating Kar-go, we wanted to take advantage of this drawing on the strength of British motoring heritage and design talent and combining this with the latest AI technology to produce a vehicle which will deliver goods safely, sustainably and in style.”
Electric, self-driving, economic and capable of working 24/7, Kar-go runs at a cost of just 1.2p per mile and promises to reduce the last mile delivery cost by up to 90%.
The first working model of Kar-go has been manufactured in partnership with UK classic car manufacturer Pilgrim Motorsports, which makes low-volume cars, including a V8 Cobra model, at its West Sussex site. Academy of Robotics have just opened a further investment round to raise funds to scale-up production and testing of these vehicles.
Kar-go features a patented package management system including storage compartments for different packages that can automatically select the package belonging to each customer. The hatch at the back of the vehicle is unlocked using a token on your phone. The secure system then selects and releases this recipient’s package only, preventing further access to any of the other packages. As the vehicle moves on, this complex robotic system then re-orders the packages ready for the next delivery.
Travelling at around 60mph, the vehicle has been developed in collaboration with the UK’s vehicle licensing authority, the DVLA, to travel on the roads. The vehicle’s unique operating system enables Kar-go to navigate effectively even on unmarked country roads and to navigate safely without access to GPS.
For media, this is an opportunity film Kar-go, to interview the company’s CEO and world experts in connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), get an insight into recent developments on CAV from around the world and specifically an understanding of Transport Scotland’s priorities and what this will mean for the Scottish road network.