British start-up company has raised £321,000 to fund its driverless cargo van, which is claimed to cut ‘last-mile’ delivery costs by 90%

Driverless delivery vans could make it onto UK roads next year, helping to drastically cut the industry's transport costs and enable 24-hour service.

Welsh start-up company The Academy of Robotics, which recently revealed its Kar-Go autonomous vehicle prototype, has received £321,000 in investment from crowdfunding and will receive the same figure again from an unnamed technology brand. Company boss William Sachiti describes the investor as "one of the largest tech companies" in the world.

With its cash injection, University of Aberystwyth-based The Academy of Robotics can ramp up development of the Kar-Go. The van can control itself using sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) to learn its surroundings, enabling it to drive through unmarked urban roads to reach almost any address.

In the earliest months of its use, Kar-Go will only be able to run on residential roads, but it is intended to eventually be used on all road types. Once this happens, The Academy of Robotics estimates that the use of its vehicle could enable savings of up to 90% in the last leg of deliveries, where vans are still the most common method of transportation.

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The Kar-Go is due to be produced by UK car manufacturer Pilgrim, which makes low-volume cars, including a V8 Cobra model, at its West Sussex site.

The Kar-Go features storage compartments for different packages that can “automatically select the package belonging to the corresponding customer", said Sachiti.

The company has a working prototype that can drive itself on unmarked roads and pavements between any two locations. “We are also simultaneously working with Pilgrim to create street-legal versions,” added Sachiti.

The Kar-Go isn’t the first driverless delivery vehicle to have been produced; Amazon has been experimenting with autonomous flying drones that are able to deliver packages to addresses.

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Comments
7

7 June 2017
Why does it have to look like a spaceship? Unless it's going to be travelling at 100mph, surely a box shape would have greater carrying capacity and be easier to load? But I suppose that at this stage the company is trying to attract attention and attract funds to develop the idea.

7 June 2017
Does it leave a nice little note Saying you were not in, when you were in?

Or, as in one case recently, caught on camera at Home, the driver chucked the parcel over the gate.

If it can't do this, then I see little purpose.

Spanner

7 June 2017
Although this thing can apparently drive on pavements - that sounds safe - it can't get through a garden gate and up to your front door. So the human element that's been binned in the delivery phase is simply transferred to the receipt stage, with us poor mugs having to go out in the pouring rain to collect our packages. How do these ideas get so far down the development process?

8 June 2017
.. will it leave it behind the gate or with the neighbour

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

26 July 2017

Soooo...we're all going to receive a special delivery box that this autonomous vehicle can deliver to in the middle of the night? How else can they claim 24 hour service? 

How secure are they? Can they be scooped up off the street by a few neds in a Transit?

Conquering the issues of getting around roads is one thing but if it can't get a package from the pavement to my door there is no product. Never mind 'Last mile', they should concentrate on 'Last 5 metres'.


26 July 2017

I am sure this and the rolls off-roader story were from a few weeks ago.

Spanner

27 July 2017

I'll give it a week, at most, before it is either physically hijacked or hacked so that it drives itself to where a thief wants it and its contents

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