Parcel logistics: Austrian launch of the e-post robot

Energie Steiermark, Post AG, Graz University of Technology and i-Tec Styria testing autonomous transport logistics on the “last mile”

Parcel logistics: Austrian launch of the e-post robot

Since July, experts of the Technical University in Graz have been conducting extensive field tests with unmanned e-vehicles for the delivery of parcels. The result is a specially adapted, innovative e-mobile made in Styria, whose technology could set new standards. On 23 October, the green-yellow “e-post robot on wheels” was officially presented to the public for the first time.

The prototype of the fully-automatic Jetflyer from the west Styrian company i-Tec Styria (which has been used by Swiss Post for quite some time) is navigating independently to different, programmed destinations in the Graz city center. The addressees will be informed via text message on the arrival of the Jetflyer and can take their package from the boxes themselves.

“We generally see great potential in e-mobility and are currently investing EUR 3.2 million into 150 new charging stations,” says Christian Purrer, CEO of Energie Styria. “This innovation partnership with Swiss Post opens up new opportunities that we want to develop.” The findings from the project are to be used for new business models: “The Jetflyer project opens up new fields of application, which we will offer as quickly as possible to our customers,” said Martin Graf.

“As a nationwide leading provider of package services, we are continually testing innovative transport and logistics systems with the aim of offering our customers new, individual solutions and a broad portfolio of services. Together with our local partners, we developed a concept for automated parcel delivery and, in a first step, successfully tested autonomous driving in the urban area. We see great potential here and will therefore continue to drive research and development in this area,” says Peter Umundum, Executive Board Package & Logistics of Österreichische Post AG.

The basic concept for the autonomous e-vehicle has been developed as part of a diploma thesis at the Institute for Software Technology. Specifically, a commercial Jetflyer in cooperation with the Institute for Vehicle Technology was extensively rebuilt: package boxes were installed, while the driver’s seat was reduced. Sensors and computers with appropriate software for the autonomous control and navigation of the vehicle (automatic location determination in the urban area by means of maps and laser sensors, efficient route planning and reliable avoidance of dynamic obstacles) were integrated.

The free, autonomous navigation in the urban space presents a great challenge compared to indoor environments due to the increased complexity and dynamics of the environment.;