Home delivery in city areas thanks to the help of a robot on two wheels: nimble, intelligent, lightweight, able to cross the street and to move on sidewalks, this vehicle is able to deliver goods at record time while avoiding traffic and producing zero emissions. This is the future of urban delivery services and e-Novia’s answer to the exponential growth in the demand for home delivery. YAPE, Your Autonomous Pony Express, is the e-Novia project that has given birth to the first self-driving home delivery vehicle entirely designed and built in Italy.

Thanks to a number of unique features, YAPE is able to move with ease in the narrow streets and alleys typical of many European, and especially Italian cities, either on sidewalks (with a maximum speed of 6 kilometres per hour) or on bicycle lanes (up to 20 km/h) with a range of about 80 km. YAPE moves on two wheels driven by autonomous electric engines which help to minimise energy consumption and, at the same time, to maximise the vehicle’s agility of movement. What is more, the robot is able to rotate on the spot and to overcome obstacles such as tram tracks and sidewalk edges.

YAPE produces a digital map of the city with the help of sensors in the form of video cameras and lasers. These are able to interact with sensors that are already installed throughout the city such as those placed near traffic lights for monitoring purposes. This constantly updated digital representation of the city allows for real-time detection of holes in the pavement, of accidents, construction sites and other obstacles and potential dangers on the way from the sender to the recipient. YAPE creates an extremely detailed and updated map of the city, providing useful data for the urban services sector, such as, for instance, information regarding traffic on bicycle lanes and on lanes reserved for disabled persons. In this way YAPE is able to cope with the dynamic and unpredictable traffic flows typical of modern cities.

The YAPE «ecosystem» is based on a control platform which allows users to call the robot to their homes by using the designated app. The sender places the parcel inside the vehicle’s empty luggage compartment (which has a load capacity of up to 70 kilograms) and then, again by using the app, indicates the recipient: with the help of the recipient’s Gps position – also the recipient must be registered at the YAPE platform – the robot is able to automatically determine the delivery address. Posting and delivery of the parcel are both certified and secured by the sender’s and the recipient’s credentials when using the app and by an advanced face recognition system integrated into the robot. With the help of the latter access to the vehicle’s luggage compartment is granted only to authorised users.

E-Novia plans to launch a first road test in September 2017. It is, furthermore, envisaged that by December 2017 the first fleet of self-driving home delivery vehicles will be put into service, thanks to the collaboration with an important player in the e-commerce sector.