Hrvatska Pošta (Croatian Post) introduced Gideon Brothers’ pallet-carrying autonomous mobile robots to their new sorting center outside of Zagreb. The pilot strongly supports the growth of the company’s core business, as the central pillar of their „Post 2022” strategy. By introducing robots into their operations, Croatian Post is following Industry 4.0 trends by connecting digital and internet-based systems to establish communication between machines, people, and product and business systems.
Robotic systems reduce the costs of providing services, shorten the service cycle, and increase efficiency. Robots do not replace humans; they are their tools and help achieve goals that would have been impossible to imagine earlier. This principle is what guides the Croatian robotics and AI company Gideon Brothers. Along with a great business solution, this principle was also what guided Croatian Post’s decision to launch a pilot project using autonomous pallet-carrier robots in their new sorting center.
The pilot project will be implemented over the next four months in the high-rack warehouse and the sorting facility. Employees who will work with the robots will be trained during this period. In Croatian Post’s warehouse, the robots will assist with the picking and transport of mail, and in the sorting facility, will transport mail from vehicles to processing locations that prepare mail and packages for delivery.
The self-driving logistics robots can carry loads of up 800 kilograms, and they can safely maneuver around people, equipment and other moving machines. Its autonomy technology is based on visual perception that combines deep learning (AI) with stereoscopic cameras to create a new generation of robotic vision.
The Croatian Post sees this project as a sign that it’s open to new opportunities brought by technology that can provide a competitive advantage. The company is state-owned, but it competes in a liberalized market. It is the largest postal services operator in Croatia, with an 80% share of the market, but they also offer a variety of financial and other services. The company has an annual revenue of 1.72 billion kuna (over €230 million), employs over 10 thousand persons, and operates over a thousand post offices. Their employees cover some 45 million km annually. In September 2019, the company opened a new sorting and logistics center near Zagreb, and in November they acquired Locodels, a local sharing economy-based startup for city delivery service.