Reindeere is on a mission to give folks back their time
and save them some effort so they can be more productive.
We are a small team of engineers in Oshawa, Ontario (near Toronto) looking to solve problems with robotics. Our educational backgrounds are in mechatronics and software engineering, and we have an intense yearning to put our hands to work and see others benefit from our contributions.
Prior to us starting Reindeere, we developed a mobile platform called Boxer to save the team at LinLab some time with errands, but more particularly, as a research platform to develop autonomous algorithms.
The vehicle was built from scratch with a custom battery pack,
chassis, independent suspension system, and multi-link Ackerman
It also included a sensor suite that captured visual and proximity data of its surrounding, embedded computing and other impressive components.
Our experience with Boxer has set our gaze on accomplishing
more, specifically in the realm of telerobotics and autonomy.
This is why we have decided to outsource as much hardware as possible so we can focus on these two software components.
Our current focus
What problem are we solving?
While looking into last-mile delivery, the Reindeere team realized
the paradox of a robotic last-mile delivery solution.
Although such a solution sincerely reduces the cost through automation,
it also limits the convenience that makes delivery valuable in the first
Delivery robots that presently exist are great for last-mile distances, but often require the recipient to meet them at the curb so they can complete the rest of the journey (the last-foot) themselves. This is a difficult pill to swallow for occupants in single-unit buildings, but it is even more of a pressing matter for those in multi-storey buildings. This is predominantly the case because the existing delivery robots do not also have the capability to navigate well through smaller and enclosed areas – the transition between indoor and outdoor environments.
In the last-foot logistic industry especially, the lack of a robotic solution that can accomplish parcel delivery as well as a human could is still yet to be seen. The consensus is still that a delivery personnel that is responsible for over 200 items, by the way, can easily make their way through neighbourhoods, complexes, doorways, elevators, and corridors without prior detailed knowledge of those environments.
Reindeere would like to close this gap that obviously exists in the logistics industry, but possibly in others too. We have narrowed it down to the environment transitioning or ingress-egress problem. One that currently hinders many available robotic solutions.
Reindeere is looking to cost-effectively solve the difficulty hindering robots from transitioning between indoor and outdoor environments regardless of building or entrance style.
This problem is important to solve because of the time, cost, and effort savings robotics has to offer occupants, building owners and delivery companies. Other robotic solutions have removed the convenience, and consequently, added more time and effort. Without a solution to this, the status quo will limit these efficiencies and hold back the value of robotics.
What is our solution?
Our solution is one that enables mobile robots to enter, navigate
through, and leave buildings, specifically to move goods between
indoors and outdoors, cost-effectively.
The hardware will be initially built on a wheeled mobile platform. It will include a container to transport goods as well as a manipulator to perform actions such as opening doors and pushing buttons.
The robot hardware will also include multiple sensors to allow for teleoperation and autonomy.
Our focus, though, is on the software components that will drive the capability of this solution.
Stay tuned for more!
Where can this solution be applied?
TL;DR: Last-foot delivery in multi-unit buildings.
As our communities are built taller, our parents and
grandparents grow older, and as the working population seeks a more
balanced lifestyle in these taller communities, humanity is
increasingly seeking new ways to save time and effort.
A couple of us vividly remember growing up in an apartment building in the early twenty-tens and feeling the struggles of ordering online and grocery shopping.
Living in an apartment building meant having to chase down delivered
Although some apartment and office buildings today have lockers, we certainly
did not. And many still do not.
Our options were to pick them up in front of our apartment door (which did not happen often), pick them up from the floor in the foyer, or take gallant strides to the nearest post office to pick them up.
Similarly, those that were lucky enough to not pace the aisles at Costco on Saturday evenings had to venture down the elevator to the family car parked out front to retrieve the loosely packed boxes, the heavy industrial bag of flour, and other bulk items.
Needless to say, these were not always convenient, and neither were they time or effort-saving.
With the solution described earlier, Reindeere has its sights set on saving the delivery drivers time and the residents (or in office spaces, workers) the effort of tracking down their parcels.
Delivery drivers and their employers especially get to increase productivity with a robotic solution that resides at each building. Likewise, condominium management and REITs can market the convenience of vehicle-to-unit delivery to promote their facilities.
Our proposed model uses the robot to complete the last-foot of the delivery process.
Step 1. The driver's arrival is anticipated by the robot which waits at their expected rendezvous location.
Steps 2 & 3. Once the driver arrives, they transfer the items from their vehicle to the robot and leave. The ability for the driver to leave after transferring the packages lets them save time and perform other duties.
Steps 4 & 5. As the driver leaves, the robot makes its way into the building, up the elevators, and down the corridor to the recipient's door after which they remove their items without having to make the usually long and tedious effort.