A new voice assistant system is being trialled in Greater London to assist couriers with deliveries to customers.
The project is being run by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in partnership with logistics firm Hermes, using technology from German start-up Neohelden. The latter firm’s Neo voice assistant solution has been adapted to provide an app that can be operated by voice control and touchscreen and provides relevant information on the next delivery, both in spoken format and visually.
The assistant can provide drivers with all orders to hand and tell drivers visually and audibly about what’s coming up, including recipient name, address, type of delivery, any particular place where the parcel should be left and any preferred neighbour to leave it with.
It’s being adapted to work in the future with dozens of languages and can link together existing IT systems, such as databases, CRM systems and infotainment screens.
The technology could help the industry deal with fast-rising growth.
Lynsey Aston, head of product, innovation and onboarding at Hermes UK, said: “Our network of over 27,000 couriers are working hard to deliver ever-increasing volumes driven by the natural growth of e-commerce. On top of that, the pandemic has seen our volumes soar to more than 630 million parcels over the last year and we’ve grown our teams and network of self- employed couriers, which has meant a lot of new starters to onboard, fast. Anything that helps us to do this quicker and supports our couriers in delivering more safely and efficiently is really important, so we’re excited to be part of this trial in partnership with our Innovation Lab team.”
Throughout March, the system will be tested by multiple drivers on real delivery rounds at a trial location in the Greater London area.