DM

London

It might put an end to those irritating missed delivery cards and the fleets of couriers ferrying our internet shopping to our homes.

A new type of robotic vehicle could soon be carrying our packages and parcels to our doors, according to designers. The Transwheel drone uses robotic arms to carry deliveries on single self-balancing wheel. It would use GPS to navigate between locations and facial recognition software to confirm the identity of recipients. For larger items, the drones could also work together to share the load.

Kobi Shikar, an engineering and design student at Shenkar School of Engineering and Design in Ramat Gan, Israel, claims they could even replace the need for container lorries. He said the robotic delivery service could replace the need for large delivery vehicles clogging up the roads but perhaps more usefully it may also remove the need to deliver items during working hours.

Instead the robots would be able to turn up with packages at times more convenient to homeowners. Mr Shikar said: ‘The Transwheel concept reimagines package distribution as a round-the-clock autonomous service carried out by robotic single-wheel drones that work independently and together to ensure timely, efficient delivery.

‘Each wheel features a self-balancing gyroscopic system, electric arms, and GPS-driven communication capability. ‘Smaller parcels can be handled by a single robot while larger packages will be tag-teamed by an appropriate number of robots that self-configure to the package’s unique dimensions.’

Shikar designed the Transwheel robots as part of his final year university project and believes they could work alongside flying drones being developed to carry small packages by Amazon. The vehicles use a similar balancing system to the Segway, allowing it to remain upright on one wheel despite carrying a load. 

While the Transwheel is still a concept design, Mr Shikar hopes to develop it into a working prototype if he can find an industry partner to develop it with.

He said the vehicles could operate at night on roads when they are quieter or even race up the hard shoulder rather than getting in the way of other vehicles. He said: ‘There are also LED signal lights which would enable it to be seen during the night by other vehicles. The robots would also know how to return to a safe place when their battery was low.’