Hermes UK trials VW driver delivery support system

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is piloting a voice assistant that supports drivers on delivery rounds with Hermes UK in London.

The Neo voice assistant can broadcast or display specific information to the driver that includes the type of delivery as well as the customer’s preferred safe place location, improving efficiencies and providing enhanced support to new or busy drivers with high parcel volumes in rush hour traffic or where they do not know the route.

The system operates through the VW van’s infotainment system and supports the driver via voice. This is a two way system with the driver able to ask for additional information about jobs on the task list. It was developed by German company Neohelden that was one of the winners of a Hermes Europe Future Logistics Challenge that awarded each of the winners €100,000 to do a feasibility test of the technology they had developed to support logistics challenges of the future.

Lynsey Aston, Head of Product, Innovation and Onboarding at Hermes UK, said: “Our network of over 27,000 couriers are working hard to deliver ever-increasing volumes driven by the natural growth of e-commerce. On top of that, the pandemic has seen our volumes soar to more than 630 million parcels over the last year and we’ve grown our teams and network of self-employed couriers, which has meant a lot of new starters to onboard, fast.

Anything that helps us to do this quicker and supports our couriers in delivering more safely and efficiently is really important, so we’re excited to be part of this trial in partnership with our Innovation Lab team.” 

“Finding useful solutions in our light commercial vehicle sector and testing them in real-life situations is key for us. When it comes to integration projects of new technologies into existing systems, such as our vehicles, challenges are inevitable. With partners like Neohelden, we had an innovative team next to us that worked out a best-in-class product for our customers”, said Artur Hasselbach at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. 

Philipp Csernalabics, COO at Neohelden, added: “We’re very proud that we could bring our concept from the Future Logistics Challenge to life with Hermes UK and Volkswagen and that our technology can contribute to supporting busy couriers.”