Newmarket’s MP Matt Hancock was shown the future of package delivery on Friday.
The recently-appointed Digital and Culture Secretary was shown new delivery handsets, keyless unlock, augmented reality headsets for drivers and smart assistant integration at regional distribution centre for delivery firm Hermes in Newmarket’s Victoria Way.
At the centre which sorts more than 30,000 packages a day, the Hermes innovation lab also demonstrated the next generation of package delivery, an autonomous robot developed by Starship Technologies.
About to go on trial in Milton Keynes, the self-driving robot can carry packages up to 10kg and has a top speed of about 10mph.
Chief innovator Richard Blown said that it offered ‘a viable alternative to drone delivery’.
Mr Hancock said: “Hermes are clearly putting a lot of effort in working out how to get things delivered to us and picked up from us easier and more cheaply than before.
“They’ve got a fleet of vans at the moment and in some places they are just starting to use these little robots we’ve seen here today. But I think it will be a long time before there’s fully-fledged robots on the streets of Suffolk.”
And he stressed it was important government policy ensured that jobs were created in sectors where new developments disrupted jobs.
Depot manager Marc Simmonds, who has worked for Hermes for 15 years, said: “It’s all pretty ground breaking.”