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In this photo taken on June 28, 2018, a Suning worker loads a delivery robot with groceries outside a Suning supermarket during a demonstration of the robot in Beijing.

In China, yellow robots deliver snacks to your home

Fri, July 20, 2018 16:43

BEIJING, July 20, 2018 (News Wires) - Along a quiet residential street on the outer edges of Beijing, a yellow and black cube about the size of a small washing machine trundles leisurely to its destination.

This “little yellow horse” is an autonomous delivery robot, ferrying daily essentials like drinks, fruit and snacks from the local store to the residents of the “Kafka” compound in the Chinese capital.

Equipped with a GPS system, cameras and radar, the robots are seen by their creator as the future of logistics in China, where he says one billion packages will eventually be delivered every day.

Travelling at a less than overwhelming three kilometres per hour - a slow human walk - the robot has room for improvement, said one customer as she removed a packet of nuts from its bowels.

“The weak point is that it cannot deliver directly to the door like a human,” said the customer, who does not live on the ground floor.

“But it’s still quite practical. The robot delivers relatively quickly,” she said.

The robot takes advantage of Chinese consumers’ love of cashless payments and smartphone shopping.

China is the world’s biggest online shopping market with more than half of its population making at least one smartphone purchase per month, according to professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. This compares to 14 per cent in the rest of the world.

Whether buying electronics or toilet paper, avocados or clothes, Chinese are used to simply tapping a button on their smartphone and getting a home delivery - sometimes several per day.

To get a delivery via the “little yellow horse”, the customer selects the desired products, taps in the address and pays via their phone.

The supermarket staff place the items in the robot, and the robot bustles off.

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