Called the YAPE, which stands for “Your Autonomous Pony Express,” the two-wheeled, self-balancing delivery robot will only accept and relinquish cargo after verifying the user’s identity through facial recognition.
Using an accompanying smartphone app, users who are registered with the YAPE delivery system can summon the nearest drone. The drone scans their face to identify them, then the lid on the top unlocks so the sender can add their item. The maximum weight it can handle is 154 pounds, and it can go 50 miles per charge. It has a maximum speed of 3.7 mph on sidewalks and 12.4 mph on bike paths. The recipient, who must also be registered with the system, will receive a notification via their smartphone when the drone arrives.
YAPE was developed by e-novia, based in Italy, and is capable of navigating through cities using a combination of GPS, cameras and range-finding lasers. It is able to avoid obstacles such as pedestrians, potholes and cars. It can also connect wirelessly to sensors throughout the city that feed it live traffic information in order to help it navigate safely.
YAPE will be on display at CES in Las Vegas next month.