Segway-Ninebot has unveiled its first outdoor autonomous delivery robot, in a show of confidence of this emerging market.

The Segway DeliveryBot X1 is designed to provide autonomous delivery between buildings, and is equipped with a host of technologies to ensure it is capable of navigating and planning routes when out and about. This includes the ability to recognise traffic lights and follow or overtake other vehicles.

The robot sees Segway-Ninebot take on Starship Technologies, the market leader in this emerging space, which is already in operation in a number of locations in the US, including several college campuses, where it is a popular method of food delivery.

Segway-Ninebot plans to begin trials of the DeliveryBot X1 with key customers in January 2020.

Segway-Ninebot takes on the delivery robot market

While the X1 is the first outdoor delivery robot offered by Segway-Ninebot, the company already has an indoor-only delivery robot, the Segway DeliveryBot S1.

The company, which is the result of a 2015 merger between personal transportation  giant Segway and intelligent transportation operator Ninebot, has announced a successor to the S1, in the form of the DeliveryBot S2. This uses LDS Lidar to navigate indoor environments, and will begin trials with some customers from October 2019.

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Segway-Ninebot envisions the two robots in its line being able to work in tandem, saying they “allow for an organic integration of information flow and logistics”.

The combined offering represents a significant vote of confidence in the fledgling delivery robot market, which although small, is expected to grow significantly in the next few years.

According to Markets and Markets, the delivery robots market is set to climb from a value of $11.9m in 2018 to $34m by 2024 – a compound annual growth rate of 19.15%.

Segway-Ninebot is not the only company to explore the space, with FedEx and Continental among the companies that have unveiled their own delivery robots.

For Segway-Ninebot, however, the robots represent a wider entry into the rapidly proliferating internet of things (IoT).

“In the upcoming decade, the world will become more ‘alive’ with intelligent things,” said Luke Gao, founder and CEO of Segway-Ninebot, at the robots’ launch.

“Global IoT is a pivotal direction of technology and business development. This sub-network of autonomous delivery robots will play a vital role in the internet of things.”