• | 10:30 am

Autonomous delivery vehicles tested at KAUST campus to boost eCommerce

The vehicle is equipped with mechanical and semi-solid state lidar, as well as dGPS for higher location accuracy.

[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

The eCommerce market in Saudi Arabia will be worth more than $13 billion by 2025. The post-pandemic surge in orders has also changed customer expectations, as demand for same-day deliveries has gone up. By reducing riders’ requirements, self-driving delivery vehicles can service more orders while reducing costs.

Following the region’s eCommerce boom, Saudi Arabia’s Alshrouq has partnered with Hong Kong-based Teksbotics to test autonomous delivery vehicles. The firms are conducting trials for the purpose-built smart device at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The vehicle is equipped with mechanical and semi-solid state lidars to detect objects via laser to avoid collisions.

The delivery device has dGPS for higher location accuracy, its driving control unit, and a camera. The project aims to gauge the acceptance of autonomous delivery services among residents in the Middle East. Consumers can use QR codes to unlock boxes on autonomous vehicles for receiving their orders.

Self-driving vehicles will deliver products between the KAUST campus’ mail room and its residential area. The robots have been created by Teksbotics, which provides solutions for autonomous delivery, transport, and patrolling.

The firm has designed delivery vehicles for this trial according to information collected from Saudi Arabia. Its partner in the project, Alshrouq, is a Saudi-based logistics firm that serves eCommerce platforms such as Amazon and Noon.

Before this, smart delivery robots were tested at the Expo 2020 in Dubai for delivering food by Talabat and the Chinese firm Terminus. Talabat partnered with Vodafone to provide autonomous deliveries in Qatar’s education city in 2021. The UAE’s Majid Al Futtaim group will also launch self-driving delivery vehicles for its grocery chain Carrefour, collaborating with Yandex.

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