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A new industrial revolution is coming

From The Daily Telegraph (UK).

Every one of the factors squeezing the unhappy middle-income household, or the young person who is worse off than their parents, is accelerating. Japan-style economic stagnation is spreading to other economies, particularly in Europe. The huge numbers around the world who aspire to move to richer nations is growing rapidly.

Above all, the pace of technological change seems set to jump into a faster gear with the arrival of artificial intelligence – computers which learn as they go along, and have the potential to disrupt or make redundant the jobs, training and qualifications of hundreds of millions of people. One assessment is that we are on the brink of change happening at 10 times the speed and with 300 times the scope of the Industrial Revolution itself.

More livelihoods are going to be upset, more professions transformed, more skills made obsolete and more new ones required than ever before in the history of the human race. From the car that drives itself to the robot that provides a company’s security and audits its accounts at the same time, new devices are going to present not just an important scientific event but a transformational political one too.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Answering that question is only going to get harder as many of the jobs our kids will do haven’t been invented yet. And if parents believe that steering their kids towards “safe” professions like accountancy will guarantee them a job, they’re in for a shock.

“Machine learning and artificial intelligence in particular are actually solving jobs that we thought traditionally were very highly qualified jobs, people like lawyers and doctors and accountants and bankers… It’s eating out the middle of the job market.” Robotics Pioneer

ABC Four Corners programme on robotics here.

The pizza boy has just been automated

Press Release.

Takeaway

Starship Technologies will introduce fleets of small, safe, practical, free from CO2 emissions, and best of all, earthbound, delivery robots, which will create unprecedented convenience and cost savings for individuals, while opening up new opportunities for businesses such as parcel delivery firms or grocery stores.

“Our vision revolves around three zeroes – zero cost, zero waiting time and zero environmental impact. We want to do to local deliveries what Skype did to telecommunications.” said Ahti Heinla, a Skype co-founder and CEO at Starship Technologies.

Capable of carrying the equivalent of two grocery bags, the robots can complete local deliveries within 5-30 minutes from a local hub or retail outlet, for 10-15 times less than the cost of current last-mile delivery alternatives. Customers can choose from a selection of short, precise delivery slots – meaning goods arrive at a time that suits them. During delivery, shoppers can track the robot’s location in real time through a mobile app and on arrival only the app holder is able to unlock the cargo. Integrated navigation and obstacle avoidance software enables the robots to drive autonomously, but they are also overseen by human operators who can step in to ensure safety at all times.

For businesses, Starship’s technology eliminates the largest inefficiency in the delivery chain, the last mile. Instead of expensive and time-consuming door-to-door delivery, retailers can ship the goods in bulk to a local hub, then the robot fleet completes the delivery to the shopper’s door for a fraction of the cost.

Heinla continues: “With ecommerce continuing to grow consumers expect to have more convenient options for delivery – but at a cost that suits them. The last few miles often amounts to the majority of the total delivery cost. Our robots are purposely designed using the technologies made affordable by mobile phones and tablets – it’s fit for purpose, and allows for the cost savings to be passed on to the customer.”

The robots are intended to slip seamlessly and safely into the environment. “They travel at the slow speed of four miles per hour – a brisk walking pace. They don’t fly – these are not drones. They travel on pavements/sidewalks, blending safely in with pedestrian traffic.”

Presenting an entirely new and altogether better delivery option for shoppers and all kinds of businesses, robot delivery also opens up new opportunities, such as point-to-point delivery of goods, or “rental and return”. Starship Technologies is currently testing and demonstrating prototypes and plans to launch the first pilot services in cooperation with its service partners in the US, UK and other countries in 2016.

About Starship Technologies

Starship Technologies is a European technology start-up building a fleet of self-driving delivery robots designed to deliver goods locally within 30 minutes. Designed using ‘off the shelf’ components, the robots are lightweight and low-cost, enabling the company to bring the current cost of delivery down by 10-15 times per shipment.

The robots drive autonomously 99% of the time to make safe and environmentally friendly pavement/curb-side deliveries from a local hub. Launched by two Skype co-founders, Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, Starship’s aim is to fundamentally reshape how goods are shipped and delivered, and make local delivery, almost free.