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thomas

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This is really cute! 📮





The mailbots ("DeliRo") were tested to transport mail from mailboxes to the next post office and to negotiate obstacles on pavements as well as traffic signals. They can carry a payload of up to 30 kg at a speed of 6 kph and might be placed in service by Japan Post as early as 2021.

 

Petaris

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How is the mail supposed to get from the mailbox into the robot for delivery? Are the mailboxes going to be robotic as well and transfer the mail over?
 
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thomas

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How is the mail supposed to get from the mailbox into the robot for delivery? Are the mailboxes going to be robotic as well and transfer the mail over?

I was wondering about that, too. In the video, a postal worker empties the mailbox and then loads DeliRo. I am not sure if it's supposed to be that way or if there will be some sort of automatisation in the future.

Though probably not a big issue in Japan, I'd also be concerned about security: how to safeguard against vandalism and theft?
 

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I was wondering about that, too. In the video, a postal worker empties the mailbox and then loads DeliRo. I am not sure if it's supposed to be that way or if there will be some sort of automatisation in the future.

Though probably not a big issue in Japan, I'd also be concerned about security: how to safeguard against vandalism and theft?
As you said, vandalism and theft are not something to worry about in Japan. Lucky you 🙏

And about the robot getting the mail from mail boxes... I think the robot will be always supervised/accompained by a human. We are still far away from totally self-sufficient robots.
But it would be cool getting small mini-mail-robot-boxes running from houses after the delivery robot and jumping to throw letters in it :ROFLMAO: Maybe someday...
 

Petaris

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@thomas
Yeah, I saw the person in the video loading and unloading it. I'm guessing that was just for the test, if that would be required I really have a hard time seeing this being useful except maybe transferring between post offices. That is a big maybe though.

@Weo If it required a human to accompany it then its a waste to even do this. Just give the human a cart or a car just like they have now.

Without the whole process being automated I don't see this going anywhere. Maybe they could make passive, non-robotic, mailboxes that are designed so that the robot can access them and transfer the mail securely by itself. But that would require additional changes to the robot design and of course the new design of mailbox. It could be done but could you imagine the postage increases to cover the investment and upkeep? Also, what happens when something blocks the robots path and it can't get around it? Does it call for help (either audibly or via some notification mechanism)?

It is likely that the video is just an early prototype in which they are testing the autonomous navigation functionality and there are still a lot of "How to..."s and "What if..."s to be solved.
 
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