A robotic postman is set to deliver letters and parcels to residents of Fujisawa after a field test of an automated home delivery service was launched in the Japanese town.
The Japanese city’s Kanagawa Prefecture is working with Panasonic on the trial, which launched in November and will end on Christmas Eve. The first phase involved a self-driving robot on the prefecture’s public roads, with the second trial, which launches in February, set to involve home delivery of mail via a smartphone app and remote control centre.
Panasonic said the technology could help deal with a shortage of delivery staff even in spite of the growth of e-commerce and home delivery services. It would also reduce face-to-face contact, which would help during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company has been working with Fujisawa’s local government, residents and partners for the past six years to create a Sustainable Smart Town in the prefecture.
The trial fits within Japan’s wider Action Plan of the Growth Strategy, which aims to explore the role of low-speed and compact autonomous robots within the country, Panasonic said.
The technology company is a member of the strategy’s public-private council and is supported by the government’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation.