Packages could be delivered by robodogs riding in robotaxis, Continental hopes

robot delivery dog ces 2019 continental pp cube robodogs
Continental’s delivery robot concept, complete with robotaxi and adorable robo-delivery dogs.

As we all order more and more stuff from Amazon and other online retailers, delivery of goods becomes an increasingly pressing concern. A solution is being proposed by Continental at this year’s CES 2019, where the company will be exhibiting its system of driverless vehicles and delivery robots.

A challenge for delivery robot concepts is the need for the bots to travel long distances between drop-off locations, such as moving across an area of several city blocks. Then, of course, the robots need to be small and maneuverable enough to actually make a delivery to a home or place of business. Continental’s approach to this challenge is to break it down into two components: One driverless vehicle about the size of a small car, and a number of smaller delivery robots. The robots can be transported inside the vehicle and then deployed to actually make the delivery.

Continental is working on the driverless vehicle, called the the Continental Urban Mobility Experience (Cube), which it will customize to meet the needs of robot manufacturers. The Cube should be able to navigate busy urban environments in an efficient way, avoiding obstacles and offering a solution to the “last mile” problem in logistics. The approach of using a deployment vehicle for autonomous robots is referred to as a robotaxi or pod, and promises to offer a more sustainable way to move goods around.

The idea of combining driverless vehicles and delivery robots is a natural one, according to Ralph Lauxmann,  head of Systems & Technology, Chassis & Safety division at Continental. “Both are electrified, both are autonomous and, in principle, both can be based on the same scalable technology portfolio,” he said in a statement. “These synergies create an exciting potential for holistic delivery concepts using similar solutions for different platforms. Beyond this technology foundation, it’s reasonable to expect a whole value chain to develop in this area.”

As driverless vehicles become commonplace, there will be many uses for them in addition to deliveries. For example, during busy rush hours, the vehicles could be used as taxis for commuters, then outside of these busy times, the same vehicles could be used for deliveries. Having the vehicles in operation almost 24/7 would make for much more efficient use of resources and could eventually lower or eliminate the need for privately owned cars.

If you’re at CES and want to learn more about the robotaxis, you can visit the Continental booth from January 8 to 11 at North Hall Booth No. 7519.

Emerging Tech

The grid of the future will be powered by … giant subterranean bagpipes?

In order to transition to a more renewable-focused energy system, we need to scale up our grid storage capacity --- and our existing methods aren't going to cut it. Could compressed air be the key?
Smart Home

Postmates expands to 1,000 more cities to take on DoorDash and Uber Eats

Postmates has expanded its on-demand delivery service to 1,000 additional U.S. cities, taking the total number served to more than 3,500 across all 50 states and putting it within reach of 70% of households.
Emerging Tech

Alphabet’s Wing drones now have FAA approval to deliver packages in the U.S.

Alphabet Wing has become the first company to receive Air Carrier Certification from the FAA. This means that it can begin commercial deliveries from local businesses to homes in the U.S.
Smart Home

I have seen the future, and it’s full of salad-making robots

Think that robots bussing tables, tossing salads and baking bread is a futuristic concept? It's actually not as far away as you might think. Robots took center stage at a food robotics summit in San Francisco this week, where they showed…
Cars

Kia’s HabaNiro concept is an autonomous electric car that knows when you’re sad

Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, the Kia HabaNiro concept is supposed to preview the future of the everyday car. That future will include artificial intelligence tech that can read the driver's emotions, according to Kia.
Emerging Tech

Gravitational forces at heart of Milky Way shaped this star cluster like a comet

Hubble has captured the stunning Messier 62 cluster. The cluster is warped, with a long tail which stretches out to form a shape like a comet. It is thought this distortion is due to Messier 62's proximity to the center of the galaxy.
Emerging Tech

Burgers are just the beginning: Embracing the future of lab-grown everything

You’ve almost certainly heard of the 'farm to fork' movement, but what about 'lab to table'? Welcome to the fast-evolving world of lab-grown meat. Is this the future of food as we know it?
Emerging Tech

Troubleshooting Earth

It’s no secret that humans are killing the planet. Some say it’s actually so bad that we’re hurtling toward a sixth major extinction event -- one which we ourselves are causing. But can technology help us undo the damage we’ve…
Emerging Tech

Inside the Ocean Cleanup’s ambitious plan to rid the ocean of plastic waste

In 2013, Boyan Slat crowdfunded $2.2 million to fund the Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit organization that builds big, floating trash collectors and sets them out to sea, where they’re designed to autonomously gobble up garbage.
Emerging Tech

Climeworks wants to clean the atmosphere with a fleet of truck-sized vacuums

Using machines that resemble jet engines, Climeworks wants to fight climate change by extracting CO2 from thin air. The gas can then be sold to carbonated drink and agriculture companies, or sequestered underground.
Emerging Tech

How 3D printing has changed the world of prosthetic limbs forever

When he was 13 years old, Christophe Debard had his leg amputated. Here in 2019, Debard's Print My Leg startup helps others to create 3D-printed prostheses. Welcome to a growing revolution!
Emerging Tech

Geoengineering is risky and unproven, but soon it might be necessary

Geoengineering is a field dedicated to purposely changing the world's climate using technology. Call it 'playing god' if you must; here's why its proponents believe it absolutely must happen.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Earth Day, indoor container farming, robot submarines

Today on Digital Trends Live, we discuss how technology intersects with Earth Day, a new Tim Cook biography, indoor container farming, robot spy submarines, A.I. death metal, and more.
Gaming

Google’s Stadia is the future of gaming, and that’s bad news for our planet

Google’s upcoming Stadia cloud gaming service, and its competitors, are ready to change the way gamers play, but in doing so they may kick off a new wave of data center growth – with unfortunate consequences for the environment.