Meet Neo, a voice assistant for parcel deliveries

Meet Neo, a voice assistant for parcel deliveries

Thanks to the pandemic, the courier and parcel delivery business is skyrocketing. But how do couriers and parcel delivery companies ensure that every single parcel reaches its destination on time? Enter Neo, a voice assistant for parcel deliveries.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and logistics firm Hermes are working on Neo together with the start-up Neohelden from Karlsruhe, Germany. The voice assistant is currently being trialled in a pilot scheme in East London. This assistant can be operated by voice control and touchscreen and provides relevant information on the next delivery both in spoken format and visually.

As part of this project, Neohelden has adapted its voice assistant – Neo – to meet the challenges in the parcel delivery business and support drivers during their everyday shifts. Whether it be for onboarding, the first few delivery runs or an overview of the parcels handed on, the “Conversational interface” will in the future even work in dozens of languages. The assistant has the advantage of being able to link the existing IT systems, such as databases, CRM systems and infotainment screens, in a simple way.

With Neo’s help, drivers see and hear what’s coming up, have all orders to hand displayed as a list and can select the next delivery by touch or voice command. If they wish, they can have the system read out the most relevant details about the next delivery, such as recipient name, address, type of delivery, any particular place where the parcel should be left and any preferred neighbour to leave it with. Thanks to voice control, the delivery staff member is also able to ask for further details about each item on the job list. The aim is to save time in the area of the delivery address and to ease the challenging workload, especially at times of high parcel volume, rush-hour traffic or at unknown locations.

This digital assistance could help in handling the sector’s growth. Lynsey Aston, head of product, innovation and onboarding at Hermes UK, says: “Our network of over 27 000 couriers are working hard to deliver ever-increasing volumes driven by the natural growth of e-commerce. On top of that, the pandemic has seen our volumes soar to more than 630 million parcels over the last year and we’ve grown our teams and network of self-employed couriers, which has meant a lot of new starters to onboard, fast. Anything that helps us to do this more quickly and supports our couriers in delivering more safely and efficiently is really important, so we’re excited to be part of this trial in partnership with our Innovation Lab team.”

Throughout March the system will be tested by multiple drivers on real delivery rounds at a trial location in the Greater London area.

Published by

Focus on Transport

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is one of the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publications in southern Africa.
Prev UD drivers win trip to Japan
Next Black beauty

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.