Japan Post to test autonomous delivery robots in Tokyo

The company in charge of the Japanese postal service, Japan Post, is teaming up with the Yamato carrier to test autonomous delivery robots from next month in Tokyo. This pilot, which should last until the end of the year, is carried out with a view to promoting contactless delivery solutions which are useful in the fight against Covid-19, specifies the Nikkei.

DeliRo runs at 6 km / h
Two test campaigns will take place simultaneously. The one carried out by Yamato will be held in the east of Tokyo and the one carried out by Japan Post in the center of the Japanese capital. They will use a robotic vehicle called DeliRo, a contraction of “Delivery Robot”. The partners have come together for the occasion with robotics specialist ZMP, reports the Robotics & Automation site.

DeliRo is compact and equipped with one or more boxes depending on the desired configuration. It travels at a maximum of 6 km / h and can carry a maximum load of 50 kg. In all, five robots will be tested in each project. Delivery robots will be considered motorized vehicles and therefore have a license plate. They will operate within a 1 to 2 kilometer radius to deliver packages to stores, hospitals, residential areas and other destinations.

Strict regulations
If in the United States the trials of autonomous delivery are increasing, Japan seems to be behind on this subject. The emergence of this technology in this island state is being held back by regulatory barriers, assures the Nikkei. Japanese law notably prohibits autonomous delivery robots from circulating on public roads. However, we note that another test is currently being carried out by Rakuten in Kanagawa prefecture, south of Tokyo.

The Japan Post and Yamato project should make it possible to identify which regulatory obstacles can be lifted for this technology and under what conditions. The government would like to change the law fairly soon after these tests are over, according to the Nikkei. Autonomous deliveries make it possible to reduce the risk of contamination but also to respond to the shortage of manpower in the world of logistics. A shortage that is intensifying at the same time as e-commerce is developing. Almost 870,000 parcel deliveries were made in 2019 in Japan.

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