Vilnius becomes the first city in Europe to have a fleet of Autonomous Robot Carriers (ARCs) delivering groceries on its busy city centre roads. This innovation from delivery start-up LastMile in cooperation with Clevon has already rolled out to the traffic – three ARCs will deliver shopping without a driver and will help to reduce the cost of delivery services. Orders will be collected at the IKI store on Mindaugas Street and delivered directly to customers’ homes in the city centre area.
ARCs, which are delivering the goods, have different size and lockable compartments suitable for smaller and larger online grocery orders. In total, the fleet of robots can deliver 7 customer orders in a single run in the capital’s New Town and Old Town districts.
Neither congestion nor rain will interfere:
The ARCs that have been delivering goods in Vilnius city centre have since Tuesday been developed by Clevon, an Estonian-based global autonomous delivery innovator. Last year, LastMile, together with Clevon carried out a pilot project in the Vilnius suburban district of Balsiai – this was the first deployment of driverless delivery robots in Lithuania. In three months, the robot travelled around 2,000 km and showed good performance.
“The trial paid off with an overall score of 4.8 out of 5, and shoppers were keen to try the innovation. Meanwhile, we have seen that we can deliver goods even more efficiently and flexibly, with less environmental impact, thanks to electric motors. After a successful test, we are taking the next step – for the first time in Europe, as many as three autonomous carriers will be part of the traffic in city centre streets. We believe that these robots will give us a significant advantage in the delivery sector, as customers will receive their goods quickly, even in the city center, and even during peak hours. Speed is becoming one of the most important criteria for shoppers when choosing a home delivery method – even 95% of our customers buy goods with delivery within a few hours,” says Tadas Norušaitis, CEO and co-founder of LastMile.
The pilot project also proved that robots can drive autonomously in a wide range of conditions – in the rain, on unpaved roads, in the snow, and in puddles after rain.
According to Nijolė Kvietkauskaitė, CEO of IKI Lietuva, the e-commerce market in Lithuania is very vibrant, so it is crucial to always be one step ahead.
“Today’s shopper expects an even more seamless shopping experience – and we are helping to meet this expectation with bold technological innovations such as autonomous stores and autonomous cars that deliver purchases quickly, safely and conveniently. We can promise our shoppers that we will continue to lead the way in Lithuania by introducing retail innovations that will create an even better consumer experience,” said N. Kvietkauskaitė.
“Clevon’s CEO, Sander Sebastian Agur, highlighted that the partnership with REWE Group through Iki and LastMile is a major commercial achievement for Clevon: “Our team keeps proving that autonomous deliveries are here to stay, and we’re expanding our operations from single vehicles to fleets in Europe, the US, and in the Middle East region. Clevon was the first in Europe to get permission to operate driverless carriers on public roads in 2020. Now, we’re making history again by being the first to deploy a fleet of ARCs for commercial deliveries on Europe’s public roads, right here in Lithuania. This is just the beginning!”