In recent times, number of startups has shown an interest in last-mile delivery. While most of them are working on drone delivery services to deliver goods to the doorstep of consumers, one startup is focusing on Wheel-based delivery robots.
Refraction AI a startup located in Ann Arbor, Michigan has recently launched REV1 – an autonomous delivery robot for safe and cheaper last mile goods delivery in urban areas. Backed by eLab Ventures and Trucks Venture Capital, it plans to start with restaurant food delivery before expanding into other last-mile logistics.
REV1 is the brainchild of University of Michigan professors Matthew Johnson-Roberson and Ram Vasudevan. Three wheeled Rev-1 is much smaller than other delivery robots from competitors like Starship Technologies, FedEx or Amazon.
REV-1 is lighter, faster and cheaper
REV-1 weighs 100 pounds and has a top speed of 15 mph which is 5 mph faster than Starship’s machine.
It can hold around four or five grocery bags inside its 16 cubic feet storage compartment. Once Rev-1 arrives at its destination, the recipient can unlock the storage box by entering a code into the robot’s keypad to retrieve their goods.
Refraction has ditched expensive LIDAR technology used by other robots to keep the costs down. Instead, it uses 12 cameras with radar and ultrasound sensors. REV-1 is currently priced at $5,000.
REV-1 can handle all kinds of weather
Lightweight and agile REV-1 can operate in the bike lane and on the roadway, making it faster and suitable for urban and suburban environments. It can handle rough weather conditions.
REV 1 is still in the testing stages. The company has collaborated with local restaurants to offer food delivery service in certain areas. Depending on the success, it plans to strike bigger deals in the coming months.