Rev 1 last-mile delivery robot wants to share the bike lane

Refraction AI's Rev 1 delivery robot is bigger than regular delivery robots that drive on sidewalks but smaller than a self-driving vehicle.

In recent times, innovators and entrepreneurs have taken an interest in last-mile delivery. This has sparked the rise of startups that are dedicated to delivering goods to the doorstep of consumers via robotics. Refraction AI just joined the train with their recent launch of REV 1 – an autonomous delivery robot that aims to make last-mile delivery cheaper and more effective.

REV 1’s size is probably the most important feature that differentiates it from other last-mile delivery vehicles. It is bigger than regular delivery robots that drive on sidewalks but smaller than a self-driving vehicle. This makes it able to perform functions that both classes of delivery robots cannot.

Design and features

REV 1 is a three-wheeler that’s 4.5ft long, 5ft tall, and 30 inches wide. As mentioned earlier, its size is a compromise between robots that use the sidewalk and autonomous vehicles. Due to its intermediate size and speed, REV 1 can shuttle between roadways and bike lanes, giving it the ability to navigate densely populated areas as well as the freer roads. REV 1’s interior measures about 16 cubic feet, enough space for four to five grocery bags.

Shorter stopping distance

REV 1 has a short stopping distance of just 5 feet. When passing regulations about autonomous vehicles, the stopping distance is always a major consideration. Full-speed autonomous vehicles have a longer stopping distance. Thus, they are not allowed on many busy urban roads. REV 1 has a much better chance of being approved on urban roads. When the roads are too busy to give room for any kind of robot, REV 1 can always make use of the bike lanes.

Ideal for all kinds of weather

A major limitation of many delivery robots is their inability to work in certain weather conditions. REV 1 is still capable of delivering goods to customers in the rain and snow. This makes it the perfect delivery vehicle during the winter and other periods of harsh weather.

Lower cost

Most autonomous vehicles use LIDAR sensors as the backbone of their self-driving technology. Although the price is gradually coming down, LIDAR is known to be traditionally expensive. REV 1 ditches LIDAR, instead favoring a sensor system composed of 12 cameras. According to the manufacturers, this technology is just as effective albeit much cheaper than LIDAR. Due to the cheaper sensor system, REV 1 is valued at about $5,000. Its valuation would have been as much as $10,000 if it came with LIDAR.

Pricing info

Being a new product, REV 1 is still very much in the testing stages. The company claims to have collaborated with local restaurants to offer food delivery service in certain areas. Depending on the success of the partnerships, they plan to strike bigger deals in the coming months. According to multiple sources, the vehicle is currently priced around $5000.