Europe’s First Fleet of Delivery Robots Launches on Public Roads

The landmark deployment is the result of a collaboration among AV manufacturer Clevon, LastMile and supermarket chain IKI

Graham Hope

July 5, 2023

2 Min Read

Europe’s first fleet of autonomous robot carriers is now operating on public roads in the Baltic nation of Lithuania.

The landmark deployment is the result of a collaboration among Estonian autonomous vehicle manufacturer Clevon (previously known as Cleveron), delivery transportation platform LastMile and supermarket chain IKI.

The rollout will see three Autonomous Robot Carriers (ARCs) deliver orders without a driver, collecting goods from the IKI store on Mindaugas Street in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, and dropping them off at customers’ homes in the city center.

Because the CLEVON 1 ARC that is being used has several different-sized compartments, it can complete as many as seven different orders on a single run in Vilnius’ New Town and Old Town districts.

The deployment follows a trial last year in the suburban Vilnius district of Balsiai, which constituted the first time a delivery robot was used in Lithuania. It covered more than 1,243 miles in three months. 

Customer feedback was extremely positive, and the ARC showed it could operate in a variety of different conditions, including rain, snow and rough surfaces A further trial was also carried out in the Old Town of Estonian capital Tallinn – a UNESCO World Heritage site – in partnership with DHL, late last year.

The CLEVON 1 is about half the size of a traditional van, at 98 inches long, and is 61 inches high. A modular design allows flexibility in terms of deliveries, while the automated functionality is facilitated by a camera and radar stack providing 360-degree visibility and obstacle detection.

To ensure maximum safety in Vilnius, the ARCs will travel at a maximum speed of 16 mph and will be monitored by remote teleoperators at all times via a redundant 4G connection that delivers a high-resolution, low-latency stream. 

The autonomous deliveries will be free of charge, with customers receiving a text message telling them when the robot will arrive with their order and a code to unlock the relevant door on the ARC.

“We believe that these robots will give us a significant advantage in the delivery sector, as customers will receive their goods quickly, even in the city center and during peak hours,” said Tadas Norušaitis, CEO and co-founder of LastMile. “Speed is becoming one of the most important criteria for shoppers when choosing a home delivery method – 95% of our customers buy goods with delivery within a few hours.” 

Clevon CEO Sander Sebastian Agur added: “We’re expanding our operations from single vehicles to fleets in Europe, the U.S. and in the Middle East region. This is just the beginning!

About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

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