This holiday season, Helsinki shoppers are experiencing the convenience of HeRo, a delivery robot designed to make gift-buying easier.

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Developed by French robotics firm TwinswHeel, HeRo, short for “Helsinki Robot,” is a four-wheeled autonomous robot belonging to the ciTHy L “delivery droid” series. Finnish-French company LMAD provided the customized software and customer interface for the robot.

HeRo stands out with its ability to deliver online orders from select retailers within an hour, providing a swift and efficient service during the festive season. The robot boasts a maximum payload of 300 kg (661 lb), a top speed of 25 km/h (16 mph), and a travel range of up to 20 km (12 miles) on a single charge of its quick-swappable lithium battery pack. Utilizing GPS and onboard sensors, the robot navigates through the city, avoiding obstacles on its route.

Featuring a useful volume of 900 liters (238 gal), HeRo is equipped with individual lockers to securely contain multiple customers’ orders. To access their purchase, each customer can electronically open their designated locker using a smartphone app.

HeRo’s debut in Helsinki occurred during the summer when it was used to deliver tools from the Würth Center warehouse to construction sites. In this current phase of the pilot project, HeRo is delivering holiday purchases to customers in the Ruoholahti and North Jätkäsaari areas of Helsinki. Shoppers can select from participating retailers and place orders for their desired items through the dedicated app.

The City of Helsinki’s innovation company, Forum Virium Helsinki, oversees the project, which is part of the larger European Union URBANE project. The initiative runs until the end of the year, with plans for the next phase in spring focusing on optimizing delivery routes for increased efficiency.

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