Pilot scheme sees talking robot deliver parcels to worksites in Helsinki 

The autonomous, zero-emission delivery robot, HeRo (Helsinki Robot) will carry parcels from Würth’s Center to worksites in the vicinity  

A new pilot project is underway in Helsinki, Finland, this summer. It sets out to test whether electric and autonomous vehicles can deliver small loads of construction supplies to worksites in the area both successfully and efficiently.  

Würth, a service provider of construction tools and supplies, is trialing the robot, which will enable customers operating in the Kalasatama district to order small supplies and have them efficiently delivered to site via robot.  

The scheme is part of the international URBANE project, which seeks to identify new ways of completing deliveries in urban areas. By finding innovative means of local logistics, the project aims to reduce emissions and traffic in urban areas.

The pilot robot, HeRo, which has also been dubbed ‘a hero providing zero-emission deliveries,’ was built and customized by French company, TwinswHeel. The technical details and customer interface were implemented by Finnish French company, LMAD, which is developing a software platform to operate and manage autonomous robots. 

“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,” says Terhi Vesala, Logistics Manager at Würth.

The English-speaking robot, model CiTHY L, can carry loads of up to 300 kilograms. It is predicted to save customers’ time, as it can deliver orders flexibly and punctually to meet sudden demand. 

LMAD’s Gergely Horvath said: “Electronic and autonomous robots are the future of eco-friendly deliveries and distribution. Autonomous robots can help companies reduce the price of last-mile deliveries and improve the customer experience, as well. Cooperating with DB Schenker and Würth Oy on a real use case is a fascinating step towards developing autonomous deliveries in the EU.” 

After successful local street grid testing, the robot is currently making deliveries in the area, accompanied by an assistant to ensure it runs smoothly. The scheme will end in July, with URBANE planning to carry out similar projects in Italy, Spain, and Greece.