The delivery robots also have dedicated parking spaces in Finland, Source: Starship Technologies

World’s first? A Helsinki food delivery robot did a hit-and-run on a car

World’s first? A Helsinki food delivery robot did a hit-and-run on a car

This is the first winter that the smart vehicles have to deal with Nordic climate conditions

Last summer, the S Group grocery chain launched robot food deliveries in nine Finnish cities. The bots, made by Starship Technologies and somewhat similar to planetary rovers with six wheels, have already been traversing the streets proving popular with customers.

One big question that sprang up, however, was about the way they would deal with the heavy winter conditions. The company announced that it had refitted their six wheels with special winter tires so they can travel through the snow and ice.

However, there can always be unforeseen circumstances out in the physical world as a recent report showed. Apparently, one of the delivery robots was involved in a slight accident, damaging a parked car in Helsinki before dutifully continuing on its way to its destination. Finnish media have described it as the first hit-and-run involving an autonomous vehicle.

No one was injured (this time)

Witnesses to the incident described what happened to local media outlets. The robot was driving on a sidewalk that hadn’t been cleaned from snow, so the edge of the frozen mass tilted the autonomous vehicle towards a parked car. The slippery surface wouldn’t let the robot get a grip, so it got stuck against the car scratching it in the process.

It was only the assistance of a human passer-by that freed the robot from its trap. Putting it back on the sidewalk, the delivery robot happily continued towards its end goal, apparently not leaving its contact for insurance purposes.

The anonymous rescuer added, as quoted by Yle:

I notified the emergency centre about a 'traffic accident.' The businesslike but amused emergency operator said he would notify the police. The police called, asked for identification and said that this incident was a career first."

The S Group company also commented that it is investigating the incident.



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