The small robot built by the Osaka-based firm has actually started its first trials in the Prefecture dubbed at the Japanese smart town

Due to the pandemic this 2020, services are trying to find ways to limit human to human contact to provide safety for their customers and employees, so it wasn’t surprising when shops began delivering almost anything from food to necessities right at their customer’s doorsteps.

Nevertheless, Panasonic wanted to take things a step further with a self-driving robot to do deliveries.

Trials at Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town

According to the Japan Times, the company has announced on Monday, December 28, that trials for the self-driving delivery robot will start in February at a residential area in the Kanagawa Prefecture.

The company aims to test the feasibility of having a delivery service using an autonomous little robot that can travel at a maximum speed of four kilometers per hour with a load of stuff.

The small robot built by the Osaka-based firm has actually started its first trials in the Kanagawa Prefecture dubbed as the Japanese smart town or the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town according to Panasonic, which is scheduled to continue until the end of December 2020.

Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town first opened in November 2014 and by February 2020, it has a population of 435,000.

It is possible to visit the place when the pandemic dies down.

The Adorable Autonomous Delivery Vehicle

In a report by Gizmodo, the self-driving delivery vehicle is based on a modified wheelchair design and is roughly 45 inches by 45 inches by 26 inches in measurement and weighs around 265 pounds or 120 kilograms.

It may not be exactly small, but people are still raving about its adorable design, which is complete with an adorable face.

The robot has been developed to avoid obstacles to arrive safely to its destinations, but as per the company, it is possible to remotely control it and help it avoid collision and put it back on course.

According to the report, the adorable little guy is already driving on the public road of the town but is yet to deliver actual stuff to the people.

That will start in the project’s second phase of trials, wherein the Panasonic delivery robot will deliver daily necessities of the people living in the city, including food, that are purchased from local stores.

The trial will start in February and will end sometime in March.

A Demand for the Service
If things go well, these little delivery guys might become more common in the future, especially as there has been more demand for delivery services, but due to labor shortage in Japan, it has become a problem not just in the delivery industry but in other sectors as well.

Besides the project, Panasonic is also working in a private-public sector that aims to rework the legal framework that will accommodate autonomous delivery vehicles.

As of now, testing any self-driving vehicle on public roads, including delivery robots, require a special permit from the local police authority.

However, Panasonic is not the only company working on developing and testing self-driving robots as Japan Post Co. has also started public road trials in October for their own self-driving delivery robots across Tokyo, Japan.

Originally Published at Tech Times