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Parcel bods Hermes become latest London drone delivery droogs

Another reason for non-delivery, perhaps?

Parcel delivery biz Hermes has become the latest company to roll out self-driving robots in London, promising autonomous deliveries in the borough of Southwark.

The company is partnering with Starship Technologies, whose coolbox-on-wheels delivery drone has become a familiar sight for a handful of households on the city's Greenwich peninsula.

"Initially, the trial will allow the delivery firm to offer limited 30-minute time slots for the collection of parcels, either for items being returned to retailers, or for items being sent by small businesses or consumers via myHermes. Moving forward, the robots could offer Hermes greater scheduling and tracking capabilities," the company said in a statement.

Each of the new drones will be 55cm high by 70cm long and be capable of moving up to 10kg of parcels. The six-wheeled boxes will move at up to 4mph and can be used within a two-mile radius of their control centre.

Hermes CEO Carole Woodhead said in a canned statement: "Starship Technologies is a highly innovative and pioneering firm. We are extremely pleased to utilise their expertise to explore exciting new ways that will further strengthen our portfolio of services and offer greater choice and convenience for customers. We can already see first-hand the success they've had with food deliveries in London, and we are excited to team up with them in a bid to revolutionise the home delivery marketplace."

Other drone trials in London include driverless passenger-carrying cars, once again on the Greenwich peninsula. Due to its urban location combined with a relative lack of foot traffic during the working day, the riverside paths are a popular testing ground for autonomous technologies. ®

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