Aylesbury BOX Company | Do we Need Bespoke Boxes for Robot Deliveries?
Following many successful trials, Robot deliveries are likely to become commonplace on our streets. Does this mean a rethink in packaging design?
bespoke boxes, bot deliveries. packages, delivery bots, packaging design, corrugated cardboard boxes, drone deliveries,
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Do we Need Bespoke Boxes for Robot Deliveries?


Do we Need Bespoke Boxes for Robot Deliveries?

In communities around the UK, bots are providing local delivery services. Following many successful trials, Robot deliveries are likely to become commonplace on our streets. Does this mean a rethink in packaging design?

The Benefit of Robot Deliveries

Cambourne in Cambridge is one of many UK communities to benefit from a collaboration between Coop and Starship Technologies. They use bots to securely carry grocery orders to residents living within a 4km proximity of the store.

This is nothing new, the robots are out and about on the streets of Milton Keynes, Northampton and Southwark in London, busily transporting goods. Each robot runs on zero-carbon electricity, so this method of local delivery helps to reduce short car journeys and improve air quality.

Travelling at maximum speeds of 4km/hour, the bots are equipped with sensors, AI, machine learning and 360degree computer vision. This technology helps them to navigate and negotiate the terrain. Humans in a central control centre can monitor the bots and take over the controls if necessary.

The Starship Technologies bot has the capacity for up to 10kg of groceries, parcels or other items. Once loaded, the bot is securely locked. The recipient is sent the code to release the lock and retrieve their order.

This isn’t the only delivery bot, other options include the UK-built Kar-go. Designed by the Academy of Robotics, Kar-go bots operate in parts of London. There is also the Amazon Scout, the Kiwi Bot, Robo mart, Refraction REV-1 and Nuro R2. Each has unique features and different sized holds.

Bespoke Boxes for Robot Deliveries

The growing number of bots being deployed across the country got us thinking. Should we manufacture bespoke boxes to specifically fit the internal dimensions of the various models?

We think it could be useful to any company using delivery bots to have cardboard boxes designed to fit. These can be filled whilst the bot is out, ready for loading when the bot returns. The box would be designed to be easy to place into the bot or remove at the other end.

Corrugated cardboard boxes are lightweight, so wouldn’t have a great impact on the weight limitations. Their cushioning and insulating properties could also be beneficial, even on a short delivery journey.

Whilst the capacity in terms of weight is detailed on the internet, we have struggled to find details of the internal dimensions of any model.  With this information, we could design and manufacture bot-specific boxes.

What about Drone Deliveries?

Whilst we are considering the future of autonomous deliveries, we can’t ignore drones. The ability to carry packages in the sky opens up the possibility of sending goods to remote and inaccessible areas. Manna drones are already delivering hundreds of packages a day in Ireland and the Royal Mail has its sights on a fleet of 500 drones to improve services to UK islands.

Drones are designed to release packages as they hover in the air above a safe spot. This means the packaging design has to withstand drop testing and be sufficiently robust to protect the products as they land. Again, the lightweight, cushioning properties that make corrugated cardboard boxes ideal for deliveries, come into their own. With knowledge of the drop distance and typical packaging weight, we could design and drop test boxes for drone deliveries.

The Future of Ordering Online

Successful trials, accessibility and lower emissions are some of the reasons why we can expect to see a rise in automated delivery bots and drones in the coming years. We believe this will impact packaging design, shifting focus towards bot-friendly dimensions and drop tested boxes.

We’d be delighted to discuss this idea in greater depth! Contact us on 01296 436888 or enquiries@abcbox.co.uk if you see scope for collaboration.

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