A self-driving delivery vehicle has finally arrived in Qatar! The vehicle, which is the first pilot in the Middle East and Northern Africa, will undergo a three-month trial at QF Education City.
Airlift Systems, the startup behind the self-driving vehicle, has partnered with talabat Qatar for the pilot. The technology startup is sponsored by Vodafone and supported by Qatar Foundation Research, Development, and Innovation (QF RDI).
Education City students and staff on the campuses will have the opportunity to order food and pay it online via the talabat app and have their orders delivered by the 5G powered smart delivery transport.
As soon as the restaurant triggers the pickup alarm, the Airlift vehicle will drive to the restaurant location and initiate a loading sequence. Once completed, the order status will be changed to ‘En-Route’ and the customer will be notified as soon as the vehicle arrives at the nearest parking location or delivery point, which can be viewed on talabat’s map. To ensure the food is delivered securely, customers are provided QR codes, which they will use to unlock the vehicle’s compartment and retrieve the package.
The vehicle will service three buildings - the Male Students Housing Building (SouthNest), Female Students Housing Building (NorthNest), and The Campus - Education City Guest Residence. The delivery trips will start from Multaqa (Education City Student Center).
The vehicle will drive at a maximum speed of 6 km/hr, equivalent to a human walking pace. Its route will be strictly limited to sidewalks and will use roadways only for crossings.
This latest innovation will be equipped with a real-time low latency feedback system powered by Vodafone’s 5G network and monitored remotely in a control room at Education City. This will allow the operator to have access to control the vehicle in emergency cases and to stop the vehicle when needed.
"Our extensive 5G network provides extremely high bandwidth, ultra-low latency, and the high levels of security Airlift's driverless vehicles need to function efficiently. The Airlift project is a perfect example of how 5G is enabling the digital transformation of mobility and other areas that are already shaping an exciting future for us all," said Sheikh Hamad Abdulla Al Thani, CEO of Vodafone Qatar.
The self-delivery autonomous vehicle is also integrated with a disinfecting system designed specifically to combat COVID-19, according to Dr. Azza Al-Tawashi, Industry, Investment and Business Development Manager at QF RDI. “Through the financial and technical support of Innovation Coupon Program under Qatar Foundation Research Development, and Innovation lead by Dr. Richard O’Kennedy, Airlift has demonstrated innovation in their design."
The pilot will study the vehicle's capacity to show performance comparable to, or indistinct from that of a human. The trial will also obtain consumer feedback, using it to develop strategies that ensure customer satisfaction in a long-term deployment.
Cover image credit: Airlift Systems
Source: Press release
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