Parcel delivery company DPD has confirmed plans to expand autonomous robot deliveries to 10 UK towns and cities in the next 12 months, starting with Raunds in Northamptonshire.
The announcement extends DPD’s relationship with AI-powered robotics and last mile delivery specialists Cartken, and follows a successful trial in Milton Keynes. DPD has also been working to identified up to 30 UK depot locations which could potentially deploy robots.
DPD first introduced the Cartken robots in Milton Keynes in July 2022 and the bots have since travelled almost 500 miles, successfully performing over 2,500 trips delivering parcels to DPD customers.
“Autonomous mobility will be a key lever for decarbonisation, as it transforms last mile transportation into a much greener process. By partnering with delivery companies, such as DPD, we’re propelling this transformation forward, making sustainable delivery the norm, rather than a nice to have,” said Anjali Jindal Naik, Cartken co-founder and COO.
Based at DPD’s depot at Warth Park on the western edge of Raunds, the robots will deliver to nearby residential areas within a mile of the depot. In Raunds, the robots will have three separate parcel compartments, instead of just one in the original trial, and an extended battery life of up to 12 hours.
DPD parcel recipients in Raunds will be notified of a robot delivery in advance, and once they confirm that they are at home to accept the parcel, the robot will be dispatched.
Customers will then be able to track the robot’s progress on a map and are notified when it reaches their property. They then use a code to open the secure compartment and access their parcel. Once the compartment is closed, the robot will either continue to its next delivery or return to the depot.
DPD has worked closely with North Northamptonshire Council on the introduction of the robots in Raunds.
Tim Jones, director of marketing, communications & sustainability DPDgroup UK, said: “The trial in Milton Keynes has been a huge success for us. The robots have exceeded our expectations, and the feedback has been fantastic. We can see people’s reactions when they meet them, and it is overwhelmingly positive. We set out to understand the role that delivery robots could play in certain locations in the UK and the trial has helped us identify more sites where we could deploy the robots successfully.
“Our aim is to be the UK’s most sustainable delivery company and that means investing in innovations and trying new things. We are well on our way to decarbonising our van fleet with EVs and we are also making a big step forward by switching our HGVs to renewable biofuel, but we are also interested in brand new solutions that can help us transition to a smarter, more sustainable future.”