In 2019 not long after founding LeapX we received an ambitious and forward-thinking project to reimagine the possibility of unmanned delivery. The project focused on the delivery of takeaway food and so was internally nicknamed “Lunchbox.”
We began an in-depth study into the current delivery landscape, including a stint working as delivery drivers ourselves. In contrast to existing solutions we wanted to explore how an autonomous robot could cover the entire journey from merchant to customer’s doorstep.
Existing solutions to unmanned delivery are typically split into two categories; robots that either operate indoors or operate outdoors. We soon realized the key to the Lunchbox project was in balancing the conflicting needs of each scenario.
We looked to delivery drivers for inspiration noting their two states of motion — by vehicle outdoors and by foot indoors. This balances the need for maneuverability with the need for stability and speed. With this in mind we began looking at how a robot might transform as it traverses each environment.
We also envisioned how distribution networks might transform as the industry transitions to greater autonomy. This involved visualizing how robots of different sizes might collaborate to cover long distances and how charging stations might also act as pickup locations for deliveries.
Our final design for Citizen references our thinking on the future of unmanned delivery while delivering a solution feasible within the project’s scope and today’s infrastructure. We look forward to future collaborations within this space.