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The Future Of Home Delivery: Robotic Dogs?

Germany-based automotive company Continental has given us a peek of the possible future of home delivery: robotic dogs.

The battery-powered ANYmal robots were first revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show last month. Four-legged and fully capable of controlling itself, the ANYmal robots were specifically designed for delivery purposes. The robots, who weigh 66 pounds each, can walk towards houses and drop-off packages up to 22 pounds directly to people’s front doors. Each robot is also equipped with wide-angle cameras, sensor-studded feet, and LIDAR, a radar-like technology which uses laser light beams to map out its surroundings.

In a demonstration done in front of the visitors at CES 2019, the ANYmal robots were shown to hop out of Continental’s CUbE autonomous vehicle and even step over a scooter that was in its way. It then walked towards the model house’s front door, ringing the doorbell and dropping off the package on the doorstep. The robot even did a little dance before returning to the vehicle in order to celebrate the successful delivery.

“We thought about other use cases and what are the most efficient ways to make deliveries,” Continental’s head of technical project management, Steffen Hartmann, said. “The problem is, the CUbE can deliver the last mile — but what about the last meters?”

The ANYmal delivery robots were simply meant to “tease” visitors at CES. Continental has no immediate plans of releasing them to the market soon, but that could still change in the future. If that ever happens though, Continental would be competing with other companies testing out their own delivery robots, such as Amazon’s autonomous delivery fleet.