Yandex Unveils Third Gen Delivery Robot with Swappable Battery
Company also details some of the rigorous temperature testing robots go through.
Russian tech giant Yandex took the wraps off its third-generation delivery robot yesterday. In a Medium post, the Yandex Self-Driving Team shared some of the details about its new li’l rover — and even more interesting — some of the more rigorous testing the company puts its robots through.
First, here are a few details about the new robot per that Medium post:
It’s more “sleek” than previous iterations
The robots come with a swappable battery, so they don’t have to sit idle and recharge (← smart!)
The robot’s sensors have been repositioned with the lidar moved up front and more cameras added for more detailed overview of the robot’s surroundings. Additionally, a camera with a long focal length under the lidar gives a better view of traffic lights and the other side of wide roads.
A new suspension gives the robot a softer ride and allows the robot to traverse tough terrain.
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In addition to new features, Yandex also outlined some of the testing it puts its robots through, including extreme temperatures (fitting for a Russia-based company). According to Yandex, the company tests circuits, cameras and other parts over a 100 degree range, from -40 to 60 degrees Celsius (-40 - 140 degrees Fahrenheit) and that laquering circuit boards doesn’t always hold up. The company even made fake snow to test out its new suspension.
Delivery robots themselves will probably become a commodity at some point. There will be some differences in form factor — a rover bot like Yandex (and Starship and Coco and Kiwibot and Serve and Tiny Mile) vs. Refraction AI’s bigger trike vs. Tortoise’s big hauler. But they will all serve the same purpose: carrying goods between locations in all different types of weather.
We are already starting to see some of that commiditization through Intermode, a Detroit-area startup that only makes robots for other delivery services. Intermode’s robots can be customized with whatever lidar/camera/sensor setup its clients want. This frees a delivery service to work on their own logistics operations and not spend money developing their own robot.
Yandex is a huge company with a near-$30 billion market cap, so it has the resources to develop its own robot(s). Plus developing its own robot allows for tighter vertical integration across its other services like Yandex.Eats.
Yandex has already started making moves here in the U.S. Earlier this year Grubhub announced it would be using Yandex robots for food delivery on college campuses.