MOSCOW (Reuters) - Self-driving robots have started delivering parcels in certain Moscow neighbourhoods after tech giant Yandex teamed up with the state-run Russian Post service, the companies said on Monday.
Yandex, which operates a raft of services from online search to ride-hailing, already uses robots for food delivery in Russia and on some U.S. college campuses in a partnership with GrubHub, but a tie-up with the federal post service could widen their reach.
In a joint statement, Yandex and Russian Post said 36 rectangular, suitcase-sized robots would initially deliver from 27 post offices in several districts of the Russian capital as part of a pilot project, with parcel recipients able to select robot delivery using an app.
Users can track the six-wheeled, black and white robots as they trundle across town and can access their parcel using a unique verification code.
"Every part of the logistics chain can be automated, and technologies are changing processes at every stage: from the first to the last mile," said Stanislav Chernin, head of innovation at Russian Post.
Russian Post has over 38,000 branches across the world's largest country and handles more than 108 million parcels each year.
(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; writing by Alexander Marrow; editing by Ros Russell)