Traffic jams usually happen on roads intended for motorized vehicles. It’s unusual for a sidewalk to get stuck by automated cars simply because they’re not supposed to take the route. But this is exactly what happened in Estonia. Heavy snowfall has resulted in the footpath becoming crowded with a number of automated vehicles getting stuck randomly. Only the difference here is that these vehicles are not big cars or giant trucks. These are little courier robots that find it extremely difficult to overcome the weight of the snow that has covered the sidewalk. The scene is funny.
In 2017, the Estonian parliament passed legislation to allow delivery robots on the sidewalks. All was well until a heavy snowfall threw the idea out the window. Now these trucks are on the sidewalk in the Estonian capital Tallinn. A Twitter user shared a video showing the innovation failing spectacularly.
The morning in the Estonian capital started with a traffic jam of… robot couriers! The snowfall kept them standing and unable to move. Innovation doesn’t seem to work in winter… pic.twitter.com/z6KHaWRGSK
— Deleuze (@Kukicat7) Dec 2, 2021
The video showed seven of these little robotic trucks stuck on the sidewalk. Some of them tried to move through the snow, but couldn’t. The 21-second clip has already garnered more than 200,000 views and various reactions.
One Twitter user wondered how the developers of these trucks hadn’t anticipated snow.
Well now well.
All those brilliant engineers and machine learning developers at this exciting billion-dollar start-up couldn’t have imagined snow
— puszysci_na_kwarantanne (@Fluffy4qrntine) Dec 2, 2021
Here’s a bit of sarcasm that followed.
They just need shovels and with a little extra programming they might get city funding for cleaning up the streets.
— Sisyphos (@Sisyphos1989) Dec 2, 2021
These robots move at a speed of up to 6 km/h and are equipped with sensors, cameras or other means to obtain information about their environment. The idea behind using these robotic couriers is to minimize last-mile delivery costs. But of course the planners did not take heavy snowfall in Estonia into account.
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