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Emission-free delivery robot trialled in Helsinki

HeRo, an electric autonomous robot trialled by Forum Virium Helsinki, is delivering parcels to the doorsteps of people in certain districts in Helsinki.

Vesa Laitinen

Forum Virium Helsinki, the innovation company of the City of Helsinki, is trialling an autonomous robot as a last-mile delivery option to help to manage the holiday shipping rush.

The electric and emission-free robot is delivering parcels between 10 am and 7 pm on weekdays to the doorsteps of residents in the districts of Ruoholahti and Pohjois-Jätkäsaari. It can be selected as the delivery method until the end of the year when ordering from such e-commerce outlets as Adlibris, Boozt and H&M.

Called HeRo, the robot has been developed by LMAD.

Satu Reijonen, project manager at Forum Virium Helsinki, outlined that the aim of this, the second phase of the trial, is to determine how autonomous robots are received by consumers and whether they can be part of the future of smart logistics.

“We trialled HeRo’s functioning and general acceptability for the first time in Kalasatama between May and August, when the talking robot delivered tools to nearby construction sites from Würth Center Sörnäinen,” she said.

Next spring, she added, the city will seek to increase co-operation with various courier services to optimise the delivery routes and improve resource efficiency.

“Co-operation and common rules will make operations easier for the entire industry and accelerate the transition to emission-free deliveries,” she stated.

Initial piloting of the robot was carried out in 2019–2022.

Forum Virum Helsinki

Elsewhere, the City of Tampere trialled autonomous buses, under the supervision of onboard controllers, on two passenger routes in the neighbourhoods of Hervanta and Lintuhytti between January and June 2023. The intention of the trial was to estimate the potential of self-driving buses specifically as an option to feed passengers to the light-speed rail services in the city, according to Yle.

The city prepared for the trial by launching a six-month training programme for aspiring onboard controllers in the autumn of 2022.

By: Aleksi Teivainen