Delivery Robots that Travel Indoors
Chances are, you’ve seen (or at least heard about) robots moseying down the street delivering packages or food to buildings. But what about using them to deliver goods inside these buildings?
That’s what Earth Robotics is focused on. This company is using robots to fully automate the last 500 feet of the delivery process. To its knowledge, it’s the first company to automate deliveries inside buildings, using robots to bring packages and food right to people’s offices or doors.
According to research from eMarketer, by 2025, e-commerce sales will surpass seven trillion dollars. This explains why a single condo building in the U.S. receives an average of 300 packages a day, and more than 120 food deliveries.
In the process of sending your package from the retailer to your home or office, the final stretch — known as the last mile — is often the most challenging. It’s typically the most expensive, time-consuming, and inefficient leg of the journey.
At many offices and residential buildings, the process of taking packages inside and to the recipient’s location is still a manual process. This leads to overwhelmed deliverers, lost items, cold food, package overflow, and unhappy residents.
These are the issues Earth Robotics is addressing. Its robotic system provides a 100% autonomous solution to last-mile package delivery inside buildings (other companies have only partially automated ideas for tackling this challenge). The delivery person simply delivers the package to the waiting robot, which then transports the item directly to the user’s door. It’s even trained to safely and correctly use elevators.
In addition to its fleet of robots, Earth Robotics plans to erect MicroHubs, nearby local logistics delivery centers. Mass orders delivered by Amazon, for example, can be left in these hubs and residents can retrieve their package at their convenience.
Earth Robotics is a pre-revenue operation, but plans to generate monthly revenue through its robot-as-a-service subscription model.
Using an area like midtown Miami as an example, the company would build a hub that serves around 6,400 units, and charge a twenty-five-dollar monthly fee for each unit. Its robots would also serve four buildings for a monthly fee of $7,500 per building. This equates to almost $200,000 in monthly revenue, or more than two million dollars per year.
Earth Robotics’ patented robotic system is completed, and the company launched its first pilot robot. It has collected Letters of Intent (LOIs) to create twenty additional robots.
Ismael has more than a decade of experience in software development, and several years working in robotics engineering. He is also a savvy entrepreneur, having sold a previous company.
Mirja works part-time with Earth Robotics. In addition to her advisory role, she is a venture partner with Seedstars, an investment-management company, and a regional director with NG Terminal, a transportation and logistics business.
Mirja has twenty-five years of experience in the transportation and logistics sectors. She started her career with Lufthansa, an airline, and held various management positions throughout the company’s cargo and sales divisions. More recently, she spent five years at DHL, a shipping company, in charge of customs clearance and development projects.
She holds a Master’s degree in International Logistics and Supply Chain Strategy from Georgia Tech and an MBA from HULT International Business School.