In the spring and early summer, a pilot project in Kalasatama will test if electric and autonomous vehicles can deliver small construction supplies needed at worksites to customers in the area – quickly and flexibly. Würth’s customer companies operating in Kalasatama worksites can order small supplies such as screws or tools from Würth Center and have them delivered to the site by a robot. Würth is a service provider that offers tools and supplies for industry, construction and maintenance, among other sectors. Würth operates close to its customers via the 200 Würth Centers throughout Finland.
The robot to be used in the pilot was built and customised by the French company TwinswHeel. The technical side of things and the customer interface are implemented by the Finnish-French company LMAD that is developing a software platform for operating and managing autonomous robots. The English-speaking robot, model CiTHY L, is able to carry loads of up to 300 kilograms. The robot to be used in the pilot has been named HeRo (Helsinki Robot), a hero providing zero-emission deliveries.
The robot will save customers’ time as it can deliver orders flexibly and punctually to meet sudden needs. In the future, an autonomous robot could even bring lunch to the employees, for example.
“We are continuously developing our operations and we are interested in trying new ways of serving our customers in the future,” says Logistics Manager Terhi Vesala from Würth Oy.
“The advantage of autonomous robots is that they can make urgent deliveries in the area flexibly without interrupting the customer’s work. Autonomous robots could be an excellent addition to the services of our extensive Würth Center network. The deliveries being zero-emission is another benefit.”
The pilot will begin in May and end in July. At the moment, the robot is being tested and the local street grid is being modelled for the robot to eventually move about independently. An assistant accompanies the robot to ensure that the project does not cause disturbances or hazards to outsiders.
“Electronic and autonomous robots are the future of deliveries and distribution. Thanks to them, retailers and logistics operators can offer eco-friendly deliveries. Autonomous robots can help companies reduce the price of last-mile deliveries and improve the customer experience, as well,” says Gergely Horvath who works at LMAD, the developer of the software platform for robot operation and management. “Cooperating with DB Schenker and Würth Oy on a real use case is a fascinating step towards developing autonomous deliveries in the EU.”
If HeRo is busy, parcels will also be delivered by DB Schenker’s freight bike courier to ensure smooth deliveries.
The pilot is a part of the international URBANE project, which seeks new ways of producing urban logistics services for companies and residents in cities. In addition to Helsinki, urban delivery pilots will also be carried out in Bologna (IT), Valladolid (ES) and Thessaloniki (GR). The project aims to identify innovative means of local logistics that can reduce emissions or traffic in densely populated urban areas and provide companies and residents with better services. The City of Helsinki’s innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki is in charge of the project communication and pilot coordination.