|The first unmanned delivery robot in Vietnam. Photo: Alpha Asimov Robotics|
In a new urban area of Hanoi, a delivery robot is having a test run thanks to AI (artificial intelligence). The robot moves on the road at a pre-programmed speed, with pre-processing of obstacles or people during operation. This robot delivers goods according to a pre-established route to the recipient. Initial results have shown positive signs.
Ideas from the days of social distancing
In Vietnam, in the autonomous car field, FPT, Phenikaa-X and VinFast are the enterprises that had initial experiments, laying the foundation for the market. However, much of it is still at the research level.
Not long ago, FPT created a self-driving electric car and tested it at Ecopark. However, FPT does not produce driverless cars like giants Google and Tesla, but only focuses on developing automatic control software for vehicles, said Hoang Nam Tien, chairman of FPT Telecom.
As for the unmanned delivery robot, Nguyen Tuan Anh’s project is the first to be implemented in Vietnam. Around the world, many big technology companies such as Amazon and Alibaba have begun to test delivery by self-driving robots.
Nguyen Tuan Anh, co-founder and CEO of Alpha Asimov Robotics, said that the idea of the project started at the time of the pandemic. In the time of social distancing, people limit going out and having direct contact, only delivery robots are effective tools in supporting the process of transporting goods.
That fact motivated him about an innovative technology product of automatic delivery robots, to solve the problem of transporting goods during the pandemic. Automated delivery robots are also an inevitable trend in the future.
Nguyen Tuan Anh started having the idea of Alpha Asimov Robotics from September 2021 and officially established the company in November. The product is currently still in beta.
According to Statista, the global Last-Mile Delivery market by 2027 will reach US$200 billion. The self-propelled robot delivery market alone will reach US$41 billion by 2027.
Solving the problem of delivery costs
Tuan Anh said that in Vietnam, the cost of Last-Mile Delivery service (last mile delivery to users) is high, which can account for up to 53% of the total transportation cost.
Food delivery normally requires a motorbike and a driver, the total weight is more than 150kg, the energy required to deliver is large. While the robot is only 50kg, the delivery energy costs are greatly reduced.
To increase efficiency, reduce delivery costs, the only way is to use robots.
In fact, the cost of goods from China to the warehouse in Vietnam is cheaper than from the warehouse to the recipient’s house. These costs are being paid by the consumer.
Therefore, automation and increased efficiency at this stage will lead to huge cost savings for end users. This is also a great opportunity that Tuan Anh is determined to do.
|Nguyen Tuan Anh and Le Anh Son. Photo: Nguyen Tuan Anh|
According to the introduction, the robot can move at a speed equivalent to a bicycle, at 15-25 km/h. Like a self-driving car, this robot is also equipped with cameras, sensors, GPS technology. Thanks to the application of motion recognition technology, the robot can automatically adjust its speed and avoid collisions.
As with other delivery services, after a user places an order and requests shipping, the supplier will proceed with the delivery based on the customer’s location. Following the instructions, the robot will automatically find its way to deliver the product to the customer.
Currently, the robot is 95% capable of self-driving with most of the self-handling situations, and 5% is left to humans in the laboratory to handle. Alpha Asimov is running trials in some urban areas in Hanoi such as Ecopark, VinUni, Phenikaa.
In fact, implementing a delivery robot project is not easy. According to Tuan Anh, there is no legal regulation for these vehicles on the road.
“Currently, there is no regulation because this is too new. Therefore, when testing, the robot only runs in urban areas. In the coming time, the new road traffic law will have more provisions for new high-tech vehicles, new principles. This will create a legal corridor for new vehicles like Alpha Asimov,” said Tuan Anh.
To take advantage of the technological support, Alpha Asimov partnered with Phenikaa-X from R&D to operational experience. The cofounder of Alpha Asimov is Le Anh Son and Phenikaa-X company.
“When I started, I think that the idea of autonomous delivery robots can expand to Southeast Asia and many other countries around the world. Therefore, I decided to look for someone who could help me with the project. I am happy that Vietnam has large corporations interested and invested in this industry. Actually, Vietnam has great potential in this field,” he added.
|The project bears the mark of Vietnam on the journey to the international market. Photo: Alpha Asimov Robotics|
Alpha Asimov’s operating model has 20 members working in different locations. In the future, there will be a working group in Singapore.
Assessing the prospects, Tuan Anh said that with the current delivery costs, by 2026, the cost of delivery robots could be equal to the cost of the delivery person.
Video: Alpha Asimov Robotics
From then on, the cost of robot will become cheaper. When the cost of delivery robots is the same as that of humans in Vietnam, the cost may be cheaper in other countries such as Singapore, UAE, South Korea or Australia. Delivery robots are expected to replace the role of humans, providing a more cost-effective solution.
From the initial results, Tuan Anh expects that Alpha Asimov will become familiar to people in urban areas. He set a goal that in the future, this startup can dominate the Vietnamese market, beyond Southeast Asia.