business applications

TeleRetail Delivery Robot - Feasibility Study for an Automated Urban On-demand Courier Service

TeleRetail develops an automated delivery service with courier robots for urban and sub-urban logistics. Self-driving transporters are ordered by users on demand to deliver products, spare parts, etc. locally on the same day. Their ability to autonomously deliver goods within their assigned territory enables them to fulfil the rapidly growing need for cost effective, energy preserving, space efficient urban and sub-urban logistics.

The objective of the feasibility study is to prepare the TeleRetail automated urban courier service and technology for the specific needs of the targeted customers, thereby creating a foundation for a demo service and future roll-out, which creates significant value for millions of users, worldwide. 

The feasibility study is being done together with some of the world’s leading technology companies. Swiss Post, one of the most innovative postal services in the world, actively supports TeleRetail technology development and provides feedback on various aspects of the business case for the feasibility study. Local communities in Switzerland and the USA support the study by providing information on the local needs and requirements. This represents a good foundation for the subsequent demo phase during which the developments from the study can help to create a leading service solution.

Users and their needs

Logistics automation helps logistics companies to create new cost-effective services for same day on demand delivery in the urban and sub-urban areas.

A continuously growing demand for local logistics

Online retail and the need for fast deliveries is growing rapidly in Europe and in the United States, thereby imposing new requirements for logistics companies. TeleRetail addresses these same-day urban delivery challenges with its state-of-the-art technology and helps logistics companies to address the local markets in the urban and sub-urban areas effectively.

Need for cost-effective same-day delivery services in urban areas

The logistics companies struggle to offer cost-effective same-day delivery solutions as the “last-mile” element of the delivery model represents up to 50% of the total logistics cost.  The proposed TeleRetail courier service can reduce same day urban delivery costs significantly, thereby supporting new delivery services for new market niches and local enterprises.

Demand to compete effectively as technology advances quickly

Various logistics companies like Amazon (US), Google (US), and DHL (DE) are experimenting with new technologies such as drones to automate their own delivery services. TeleRetail focuses on autonomous ground vehicles, which are much less weather dependent and can transport heavier parcels, thereby creating a competitive advantage for its customers.

TeleRetail focuses primarily on Europe and North America. Supported by world’s leading companies such as Swiss Post, thyssenkrupp and Systra, TeleRetail is able to provide services to logistics companies worldwide.

Service/ system concept

TeleRetail provides a logistics automation platform with its courier robots. A user just needs to specify the pick-up and delivery points and click on a button to request a delivery - the system takes care of all the following steps and makes sure that the delivery is completed as requested. 

Logistics automation platform 

Logistics automation platform manages requested deliveries automatically without the need of human involvement or supervision. The provided platform contains various applications for users and allows to automate every step of the delivery efficiently. An artificial intelligence module makes sure that they system can learn and perform better based on collected data. 

Courier robots with the sensor-fusion platform 

Courier robots can be requested by users on demand. Thanks to the sensor-fusion platform, courier robots can drive fully autonomously. The sensor-fusion platform collects the data from different sensors on the robot like GNSS receiver, Lidar, Camera, etc., and filters the data to verify the current position of the robot and to navigate the robot to the target. All the data is processed directly in the robot, allowing quick reaction of the robot in the case of unexpected obstacles.

Space Added Value

The logistics automation application applies satellites for Communication, Navigation and Earth Observation.

Satellite Navigation

The use of differential GNSS enables close to cm navigation accuracy. Such levels of accuracy can only be achieved with DGNSS.

Satellite Communication

The use of satellite-based asset tracking permits global tracking, which cannot be achieved with earth-bound tracking.

Earth Observation

The use of satellite imagery provides the most cost-efficient method to create high definition maps in close to real time.

Current Status

The feasibility study work was very fruitful and provided valuable information for the demo phase. Meetings with potential customers around the world provided extremely valuable inputs for the further development of the robot during the subsequent demo phase.

The legal environment today allows robots to use sidewalks, thereby giving access to more than 50 million potential customers. The long-term future of logistic automation is expected to be on the road, for which legislation is being prepared.

The TeleRetail Sensor Fusion platform can eventually be applied to automate entire supply chains:

  • Short distance robot for last mile logistics automation; 
  • Long distance robot for the use on roads and highways.

The feasibility study enabled the company to obtain valuable additional information for the developments during the subsequent demo phase. This ensures the creation of an automated transportation platform that is highly scalable to automate many logistics tasks around the world.

Project Managers

Contractor Project Manager

Xenia Scholl
TeleRetail AG, Rue Technopole 10,
3960 Sierre
Switzerland
+41 44 585 1119

ESA Project Manager

Gonzalo Martín de Mercado
ESA ESCAT, Harwell Campus. Fermi Avenue.
Didcot
OX11 0QX
United Kingdom

Status Date

Updated: 17 May 2018 - Created: 18 January 2018