If you are lucky, you will be able to spot a curious little robot roaming the streets of Borås between 19 and 29 April. It is a small driverless delivery robot that will finally be out for a first spin in Borås to see if it is indeed working as intended. The robot is part of a research and development project conducted by Science Park Borås, Textile & Fashion 2030, as well as an international city logistics project lead by the City of Borås. Hugo will be tested by retailers including Gina Tricot and Care of Carl as well as Easycom and Berge Consulting.

Hugo looks like a small blue-green box and rolls along gently with a top speed of 6 km/h. Power and endurance perhaps making up for its sober pace, it can carry loads up to 100 kilograms. Now it is to be set free on the streets of Borås for two weeks. Rest assured, Hugo, well bred that he is, stopping and changing course whenever necessary, will likely not be the cause of any chaos in the streets of Borås.

Online shopping has become extremely popular, leading to an increase in deliveries and returns, which has led to greater negative environmental impacts. The robot is to be regarded as a way to investigate alternative solutions aiming to minimize emissions and the use of packing materials, enable deliveries outside of working hours, and make returns more practical. The development team behind Hugo consists of a wide array of different actors, including researchers, companies, and several municipalities.

“We have come a long way with a project that started in 2018. We have arrived at the stage where we are able to discern how well we – as humans – integrate with a robot such as this and how it can contribute to circular systems in our effort to bring about a more resource efficient fashion industry. We will also be able to explore Hugo’s potential in other industries, such as food and medicine,” said Jonas Larsson, Senior Lecturer in Textile Management at the Textile Fashion Center and Science Park Borås.

Hugo has already been tested the streets of Stockholm and Gothenburg and now it is Borås’s turn. The goal of the test run is to explore how deliveries and clothing returns can be made more efficient, more consumer-oriented, contribute to sustainable development, and make our downtown more attractive.

“The robot embodies a new era of commerce and sharing economies with its ability to move and travel among pedestrians autonomously, as well as outside of normal working hours. Furthermore, its carbon emissions are 500 times lower than a small truck. A city filled with Hugos is bound to be calmer, cleaner, and more attractive compared to those filled with loud carbon emitting trucks. People will have faster and more convenient access to food and other types of necessities,” said Carl Berge, CEO of Hugo Delivery.

More information can be found here: An autonomous delivery robot now being tested in the City of Borås – Textile & Fashion 2030 (textileandfashion2030.se)

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