Kar-go Delivery Bot is set to take to the roads today to deliver packages for a boutique in Banstead.

Furniture and luxury giftware retailer Something Special will become one of the first retailers to offer autonomous deliveries on the roads to its customers.

The spaceship-like Kar-go Delivery Bot is driving itself to addresses in the Nork, Banstead and Reigate and Burgh Heath areas to deliver goods.

Invented by Academy of Robotics, Kar-go is an electric, self-driving delivery vehicle which is licensed to travel on roads across the UK.

It has been designed to operate on urban, suburban and rural roads where road markings may also not exist.

Academy of Robotics is a pioneering British technology company led by local Banstead resident William Sachiti.

He explained: “We know how hard the pandemic has been for small businesses and so, as we run our technology trials, we are trying to help out small businesses by selecting a few small businesses to support with semi-autonomous and autonomous deliveries.

“The team at Something Special were very helpful to us when we first began our trials in Surrey and this is simply our way of saying thanks.

“More and more people are ordering online and it’s getting harder and more complicated to meet the growing demand for delivery quickly.

“Kar-go is there to make this process simpler and easier for everyone. Our Kar-go technology fulfils a very specific need.

“It’s not intrusive and it doesn’t add complexity.

Surrey Comet:

“Whilst we test the ability to monitor an autonomous vehicle on the move, we wanted to help our local community and give the kids a chance to get a glimpse of an AI-assisted future where robots are used for good causes, where they are there when needed and out of the way when they’re not.”

In its last trials in Hounslow, the company partnered with local pharmacies delivering medicines to care homes as they trialled contact-free arrival and departure procedures.

The packages will today be loaded into the vehicle at the Something Special store before the vehicle drives itself to the selected delivery addresses.

On arrival, the recipients will receive a notification and can go out to meet the vehicle.

The hatch at the rear is automatically released when the recipient approaches the vehicle and the recipient is presented with their parcel.

Something Special manager Poppy Prichard said: “We never thought we’d have an opportunity to be part of a trial like this and we’re really excited about it.

“Technology like this could really improve the delivery process for independent local businesses like ours.

“This experience showed how quick and convenient autonomous deliveries could be and the response from our customers has been really positive.”

In accordance with government guidelines for trials for autonomous vehicles, a safety driver will be in the vehicle and the company has also added further safety protection through a remote mobile command hub.

From the command hub, the wider team can monitor all aspects of the vehicle’s operation as it makes its deliveries and the system will enable the team to monitor multiple vehicles remotely.

The Kar-go system aims to enable logistics companies and retailers to reduce the environmental and financial costs of delivery, whilst offering a more convenient customer experience by delivering on demand.

Last year, the Kar-go Delivery Bot, which was manufactured in West Sussex, became the first vehicle designed for autonomous delivery to be assessed by the DVSA and licensed by the DVLA to travel on the roads in the UK.

Since then, trials have been conducted in Hounslow and Surrey-  exploring different aspects of the technology in each location.

The company plans to begin fundraising in the Autumn before scaling up production of their vehicles.