Parisian robo-shopper inspired by Star Wars

Customers in one Paris arrondissement will have help taking their shopping home, as stores trial robot deliveries

In a European first, robot shopping helpers are to be tested in Paris as part of a trial that could make carrying the week's groceries home less of a burden.

Some Franprix stores in the 13th arrondissement of the capital will be able to deliver shopping orders by a Star Wars-inspired robot developed in the Lot from early 2019 within 40 minutes, according to Le Parisien.

The TwinswHeel 'droid' travels at between 5kph and 10kph, has a range of 30km on a single charge and can carry up to 40kg of shopping at a time. Initially, it will be accompanied by the shopper or an operator as the law does not allow robots to travel alone. But, it is hoped that - in time - the robots will be able to do their rounds using geolocation technology and without human help.

It is hoped the technology will be especially helpful for people with disabilities who live in urban areas where getting shopping home is difficult due to traffic restrictions, for example.

The trunk in which the shopping is carried can only be opened after a code - sent to the buyer via SMS - is entered into a keypad on the droid.

The robots have been developed by designers at Soben, which is based in Cahors.

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