Going the final mile 😯

Will it be a mask-free Christmas this year? Will Brexit finally happen? These are questions we will avoid making predictions for, but they are possibly at the top of many people's minds. The other question is that of the opportunities given to us by the pandemic, and before you mention it, no, it's not all doom and gloom. Some good things come out of crises, it's simply down to identifying what and where.

The robots are being invited in. Milton Keynes in the UK is best known for being one of the “new cities” designed from scratch after the second world war to help alleviate London’s housing crisis. With modernist architecture and untypically straight roads, it is considered by some to be a masterpiece in town planning, and by others an eyesore. Recently though, it has been the site of increased real-world testing of delivery robots.

The British supermarket Co-Op has been trialling delivery robots made by Starship Technologies, and is ramping up their usage in neighbouring Northampton, aiming to use up to 300 by the end of 2021. The robots can travel within a six-kilometer radius from each store, and appear to be quite user-friendly. Robot delivery is literally gaining traction, and the recent successful trial proves that opportunity can be found in places you would not immediately think of.

Another player in this area you might not have heard of is Cleveron, who are a creator of robotics-based parcel terminals, as well as a developer of last mile click and collect pickup solutions. Parcel robots and safe lockers are their thing, and they supply many big-name companies such as Walmart, Zara, and Decathlon. The market for robots is booming.

These two firms are European, proving that our neighbourhood has top talent when it comes to research and development, and innovation. Ocado is a warehouse-only supermarket in the UK, and its robots move three times faster than the robots in Amazon’s warehouses, which goes to show that despite appearances, huge companies like Amazon are not the most advanced in everything.

It is clear to us that with enough appetite, European companies are perfectly capable of posing serious competition to the incumbents. Thinking back to the robot deliveries, we are wondering how they might be able to help the banks in their daily work. Maybe the idea of secure delivery could take on a new meaning. Anybody for a delivery of bullion to their front door?

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