German retailer Media Markt tests home delivery by robot

German consumer electronics retailer Media Markt is testing using robots to make home delivery of goods faster and more cost effective, although for now they have to be accompanied by a human minder. As ecommerce booms and shoppers expect ever-speedier delivery, retailers and logistics firms are facing rising costs, prompting them to experiment with robots and drones as an alternative or complement to deliveries by human couriers. Media Markt, owned by the Metro group, said on Thursday it is testing two robots not much bigger than vacuum cleaners to deliver packages weighing less than 10 kg within a 5-kilometre radius from a store in the city of Duesseldorf. Delivery takes between 30 minutes and three hours from the order being placed, although customers can also pick a two-hour window within the next four days. Under conditions set for the pilot project by the German authorities, the robots are only allowed to travel in daylight, move at a normal walking pace on the footpath and are programmed to give way to oncoming pedestrians.”

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