London Drugs is testing a robot for curbside deliveries
A Richmond-based company introduces the Roll-E robot to customers at the curb.
Customers at the curbside collection at the Harris Green Village London Drugs store in Victoria have been receiving their orders from a blue rectangular robot since last month.
“Customers think it’s pretty cool. This idea of having robots bringing goods to you in a secure way at the front of the store is pretty cool,” said Nick Curalli, vice president of technology solutions at London Drugs, headquartered in Richmond.
Apart from the novelty, customers also liked the fact that they don’t have to wait for staff to be available, Curalli added.
The Roll-E robot project is a partnership between London Drugs and InDro Robotics. The two companies have previously collaborated with Canada Post to test the effectiveness of delivering prescription drugs to remote locations with drones.
Currently, the robot is remotely controlled by an operator from InDro Robotics, the company that designed the robot. But that task could eventually fall to London Drugs employees.
“That’s one of the things that was evaluated… If we have multiple robots in multiple locations, or multiple robots in one location, what’s the best way to operate those robots?” explains Curalli.
Before deciding to test this in Richmond and other locations, Roll-E will need to work in Victoria a bit longer.
“Four weeks may seem like a long time, but in the life of a pilot [project] like that, it’s relatively short,” Curalli said.
Roll-E will have to work in Victoria a little longer.
“Above all, safety is paramount for our staff and for our customers. So we want to make sure that this robot can be operational in a store without hampering anyone’s safety,” Curalli said.
Apart from security, London Drugs also wants to see if the robot is able to serve customers efficiently and if it is profitable for the company.
If all goes well, Roll-E could be coming to Richmond in the near future.