Innovation spreads in Vilnius: autonomous cars will deliver LastMile goods to another district of the capital
Three autonomous cars have been delivering goods purchased in the LastMile e-shop in the center of Vilnius for a month. The success of the project has led to the expansion of the territory – from now on, the driverless cars will be delivering purchases for free not only in the Old Town and New Town but also in the Žvėrynas district of the capital. As before, orders will be collected at the Iki store on Mindaugas Street.
“The fact that even three autonomous cars have taken to the streets of the city center and are now in traffic in highly busy and complex conditions is progress on a global scale. Vilnius has become the first city to do so. I am delighted that buyers immediately took on this technological innovation and were quick to appreciate the benefits of this delivery. Goods are delivered expeditiously; cars successfully navigate busy traffic and do not get stuck even in densely populated yards. There have been no incidents and the users have welcomed the innovation, so we have decided to expand the delivery territory – from now on, the autonomous cars are also going to Žvėrynas,” says Tadas Norušaitis, CEO and co-founder of the Vilnius-based startup “LastMile”.
Autonomous delivery cars have different sizes of lockable compartments to suit both smaller and larger food orders. In total, the fleet of robots can deliver 7 customer orders in one go.
What the average shopping basket looks like
As the first month of autonomous cars in Vilnius city center draws to a close, T. Norušaitis shares the delivery statistics. The average delivery distance of an autonomous car is 1.7 kilometers and the average order weighs around 10 kg.
What are the most common purchases for Vilnius residents? The most popular products delivered by autonomous cars are strawberries, bananas, cucumbers, milk, tomatoes, eggs, oil, blueberries, and soft drinks. The average basket is worth €36.
According to Nijolė Kvietkauskaitė, CEO of Iki Lietuva, the first weeks of autonomous cars in the city center have shown that Vilnius and its drivers and shoppers are ready for innovation.
“Lithuanians are very receptive to innovation, so it is a pleasure to introduce new experiences to them. We have done this many times in our history – from the first self-service checkouts to the first autonomous shops. The development of the autonomous car area is a testament to the city’s readiness for this type of technology. It is encouraging that we can set new standards for convenient and sustainable shopping,” says N. Kvietkauskaitė.
Safe, fast and free delivery
Autonomous cars delivering goods in Vilnius city center have been developed by Clevon, a global innovator in autonomous delivery based in Estonia. Last year, LastMile worked with the company on a pilot project in the Vilnius suburban district of Balsiai – the first time a driverless delivery robot has been used in Lithuania.
In three months, the robot covered around 2,000 km with good results. The pilot project confirmed that autonomous cars are reliable and meet all safety requirements.
Autonomous cars travel at a maximum speed of 25 km/h to ensure maximum safety. 360-degree cameras and special sensors allow them to navigate the streets safely. The robots are also constantly monitored in real-time by teleoperators.
Autonomous delivery is completely free. After ordering, customers receive a text message telling them when the autonomous car will arrive and a code to unlock the door.
The LastMile platform currently has more than 300 000 registered users in Lithuania. They can choose products from more than 40 partner stores, with a total assortment of more than 30,000 products.
Together with the startup LastMile, the shopping chain Iki is part of the international Rewe Group, which operates in 21 European countries and has around 380,000 employees. Iki has been operating in Lithuania since 1992. With 237 stores across Lithuania, Iki is one of the largest retail chains. It is one of the country’s largest employers, employing around 5,500 people. The chain and Pixevia have opened four stand-alone stores under the Iki brand in Vilnius.