- 16 July 2019
- Transport / Logistics Services
Refraction AI, which came out of stealth mode last week with its REV-1 delivery robot, has called for cities to allow its robots to use cycle lanes.
The REV-1 is larger than most other delivery robots like the Starship, but is of low enough power and small enough that the company’s founder and CEO Matthew Johnson-Roberson believes it should qualify to use cycle lanes and roads (as opposed to pavements the smaller robots use today).
Johnson-Roberson, a professor at the University of Michigan told trucks.com, “Our platform is lightweight, nimble and fast enough to operate in the bike lane and on the roadway.”
The vehicles are set to retail at just $5000 each, competing favourably on price with its smaller rivals. It has the capacity for four large grocery bags of shopping. Some cities – notably San Francisco where they first came onto public roads – have already banned delivery robots from pavements. “It’s a bit presumptuous for Refraction to claim they can operate in bike lanes. They would face a pretty big debate and permit process if they tried to operate in Portland,” Jonathan Maus, publisher of BikePortland.org, told Trucks.com.
The REV-1 is still in a Beta phase, with trials taking place in Michigan through the coming year. This will include winter, which can be brutal in the region, and has been carefully avoided by Refraction AI’s rivals.