Estonian startup Cleveron is looking to one-up Amazon’s Lockers with a more advanced solution, and today the company’s PackRobot makes its public debut in its home country.
Not everyone can be home when a package shows up, and no one wants to wait in line at the postal office or FedEx place. Temporary storage lockers are a nice alternative, but there’s definitely room for improvement — Amazon Lockers are for their deliveries and partner services only, and the locking cubbies themselves are more or less the same kind of thing you’d find at a gym or school.
Cleveron is aiming not only at non-Amazon services that may need to stash an item now and then, but also at deliveries that need a little special care. Packages may be too large to fit in an Amazon Locker, or perhaps can’t be allowed to sit in 85-degree humid heat all day.
The towering PackRobot takes and dispenses every item through a single port, after which hidden systems measure the package and put it in a spot that’s exactly the right size, adjusting the height of internal shelves to fit the maximum amount inside. It’s kept cool and dry in there, and when you come to collect your item, it pops out at the same spot every time — no hunting around for Locker 23. They’re secure and can sit outside in pretty much any weather.
This all came out over the last year or so, though: Today’s news is that PackRobots are at last being placed in the wild for a few lucky Estonians to test out. Ten units will be spread through Viljandi and Tartu; any business can sign up to have its packages stored in one, and there’s no charge for the drop-off or retrieval.
A second stage with more units (with more shapes and sizes) is being planned, but presumably how it looks will largely be determined by the successes and shortcomings of this pilot project.
As for chances we’ll see Cleveron blanket the globe with PackRobots? Slim to none. But a local player with a unique and advanced solution is a great target for a friendly acquisition or partnership, and Cleveron seems to be just that. Expect to hear more about these guys when this test phase completes.