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Hugo on its way to deliver some goods, Source: City of Borås

Swedish city tests an autonomous delivery robot

Swedish city tests an autonomous delivery robot

The residents of Borås are kindly asked to share the sidewalks with it

The streets of Boras, in Sweden, will become a testing ground for a ground-breaking delivery mode to be carried out by a self-driving autonomous robot called Hugo. It will use the sidewalks to navigate its way around the city and bring products purchased online to their buyers.

Hugo looks like a small blue-green box and rolls at a leisurely pace at up to six kilometres per hour and can transport packages of up to 100 kilos. It will not cause any traffic chaos as it is very polite and stops and drives around if any obstacle appears on the road. The testing runs until 29 April.

Removing heavy cargo vehicles from Swedish city centres

The robot has previously been tested in Stockholm and at Chalmers in Gothenburg, and now it's time for Borås. The purpose of the test run is to find out how deliveries and return handling of fashion goods can be streamlined, made more customer-focused, and contribute to sustainable development and a more attractive city centre.

Hugo creates opportunities for new types of trade and sharing economy because it can move among pedestrians, can be driven outside normal working hours and runs autonomously. The carbon footprint is also 500 times smaller than for a light truck. This can also contribute to more attractive city centres because fewer distribution vehicles are needed in the city centre, people can get food and other necessities delivered to them easier and cheaper,” explained Carl Berge, who runs Hugo Delivery, the creator of the delivery robot.

The main advantages of Hugo are simple. It is autonomous, thus reducing service costs. It is modular since its box can be adapted. And it is emission-free, relying on an electric battery for its propulsion.

Other purposes of the delivery robot trial are to investigate whether it is possible to reduce emissions, create more efficient package returns, reduce the need for packaging materials and enable fast transport outside traditional opening hours. Many different actors are participating in the development of Hugo, including researchers, companies and municipalities.

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