DPD to launch autonomous delivery robots in Milton Keynes

David Murphy

Parcel delivery firm DPD is to start autonomous robot deliveries in two Milton Keynes neighbourhoods, as part of a trial with AI-powered robotics and last mile delivery company, Cartken. 

The DPD-branded robots, which will operate out of the firm's Knowlhill depot, will navigate the city's traffic-free Redway network to access the residential neighbourhoods of Shenley Church End and Shenley Lodge. 

Powered by AI technology, the robots are currently learning the routes, and will then be able to find their way to delivery addresses, fully autonomously. Cartken's level 4 autonomy and navigation tech is currently being used by automotive tech giant Mitsubishi in Japan, and leading food delivery company GrubHub in the United States.  

DPD parcel recipients will be notified of a robot delivery in advance, and once they confirm that they are at home to accept the parcel, the robot will be dispatched.  

Customers will be able to track the robot's progress on a map and will be notified when it reaches their property. They will then use a code to open the secure compartment and access their parcel. Once the compartment is closed, the robot will return to the depot for its next delivery. 

If the trial is successful, DPD intends to extend the sustainable, autonomous final mile solution across the city, which could enable it to start removing traditional delivery vans from the road network.  

"This is a really important trial for us,” said DPD UK CEO, Elaine Kerr. “We want to understand the role that delivery robots could play in certain locations in the UK. They are a sustainable solution, and we genuinely want to find out if they could help us take vans off the road in future. The technology is proven and with the DPD branding, they look fantastic. The public's response to our EV fleet has been amazing, so I am confident these smart robots will be embraced by customers as part of the way forward.