Parcel delivery robotics company Cleveron has taken the wraps off its new unmanned semi-autonomous last-mile delivery vehicle, the Cleveron 701. Designed for retailers and logistics companies looking to increase last-mile delivery solutions and efficiencies, Cleveron 701 enables businesses to meet the rising demand for same-day delivery spurred by the recent acceleration of e-commerce and a rapidly changing retail landscape.
Cleveron has piloted Cleveron 701 for the past six months on public streets across its home country of Estonia, with mass production slated to begin in 2023. Developed in the company’s hometown of Viljandi, the lightweight electric vehicle has an option to use different rechargeable batteries, a maximum speed of up to 30 miles per hour and a load capacity of up to 500 pounds.
The vehicle can drive in low-traffic areas such as suburbs, or on cycle and pedestrian track, to deliver within the 15- to 30-minute driving range of a retailer, fulfilment center or dark store. Supervised remotely, it can deliver items from a warehouse or store to nearby customers within an hour. The driverless delivery solution also lowers labor cost, since one teleoperator can supervise 10 vehicles simultaneously.
Cleveron 701 is also an adaptable semi-autonomous platform to which the operator can add modifications to meet various delivery needs. For example, the vehicle can operate as a grocery delivery robot with temperature-controlled sections, a parcel delivery vehicle, or even a high-tech coffee robot or an ice cream truck.
“With our new driverless semi-autonomous vehicle, we are enabling retailers and logistics companies to solve complex and costly last-mile delivery challenges while satisfying consumer demand for same-day and, in some cases, same-hour deliveries,” said Cleveron CEO Arno Kütt. “Since Cleveron received the first license in Europe to test drive an unmanned vehicle on the streets of Estonia last year without restrictions, we have been amazed at how easily Cleveron 701 has become an organic part of the city life. What’s more, consumers can get groceries, parcels, restaurant deliveries or even ice cream from an environmentally friendly delivery robot.”
The technology company is known for its parcel lockers, robots and grocery kiosks, used by such retailers as Walmart and Albertsons. With the introduction of its new delivery solution, it joins a crowded field of autonomous and semi-autonomous-vehicle and robot providers already operating in this space, among them Gatik, Nuro, Starship Technologies and Tortoise.
“We are used to building robots, where you can go and pick up your parcel within seconds,” added Kütt. “It is still the future for click-and- collect, but for us, we wanted to expand even further. The online shopping growth has turned e-commerce into just commerce. It is a natural part of shopping. But the delivery times and costs still present a problem, especially with groceries. Consumers want speed and convenience, but it comes with a cost. With driverless delivery, you can cut the last-mile labor cost. There will also be less failed deliveries, since the 701 can be deployed from the local dark store quickly.”
Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart operates more than 11,400 stores under 55 banners in 26 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Walmart-owned Sam's Club ranks No. 9 on the list. Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons operates 2,252 retail stores with 1,725 pharmacies, 398 associated fuel centers, 22 dedicated distribution centers and 20 manufacturing facilities. The company’s stores predominantly operate under the banners Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw’s, Star Market, United Supermarkets, Market Street and Haggen. The company is No. 8 on The PG 100.