Continental’s Robot Dogs Solve Last Meter Obstacle to Automated Delivery

Continental blends autonomous shuttles with robotic parcel delivery dogs.

A German auto/transport company called Continental AG appeared to be the surprise hit of the 2019 CES event in Las Vegas last week. Their quadruped delivery dog was a scene stealer.

Many companies that deliver packages to offices and homes find getting shipments from the warehouse to the destination is the easy part. It’s the last meter delivery that gives them fits. Get an item to your curb is done quite easily, whether by land, sea, or air. Getting it on your porch or in your mailbox is the hard part. But Continental AG excels in what it refers to as seamless delivery systems.

“With the help of robot delivery, Continental’s vision for seamless mobility can extend right to your doorstep. Our vision of cascaded robot delivery leverages a driverless vehicle to carry delivery robots, creating an efficient transport team,” said Ralph Lauxmann, Head of Systems & Technology, Chassis & Safety division, Continental. “Both are electrified, both are autonomous and, in principle, both can be based on the same scalable technology portfolio. These synergies create an exciting potential for holistic delivery concepts using similar solutions for different platforms. Beyond this technology foundation, it’s reasonable to expect a whole value chain to develop in this area.”

The German firm is already known for its autonomous shuttles that have been shown to be effective and economical for moving passengers around between airports and hotel hubs. Now they are adding a walking dog-like robot that can maneuver from the shuttle to the mailbox or entry, and deliver its assigned package.

Oh, the irony of role reversal between the mail delivery person and dogs, albeit mechanical ones! Now the dogs will deliver and the retired postman can harass his former nemesis.

The Continental AG execs stress it will take huge investments for cities to make available autonomous delivery lanes on their streets and freeways. And though human delivery drivers will still be needed, it will be in a limited capacity and not more than a few years from today.

Boston Dynamics is another company that has gotten a lot of press for its robot dog as well. You can see a video of their dog by clicking here