The latest attraction at Alton Towers is not a rollercoaster but a little robot that delivers drinks to visitors around the amusement park.
Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), the world's largest Coca-Cola bottler, has teamed up with autonomous driving experts TeleRetail to test the self-driving robot at Alton Towers Resort in Staffordshire.
During the trial, the robot will collect products from the Alton Towers distribution centre and deliver them to drinks outlets across the park, using artificial intelligence to manoeuvre around the thousands of visitors during the peak summer season.
The robot travels at 3mph and distances of up to 50km. It is equipped with GPS technology, sight, sound and motion sensors to safely navigate around people and objects.
It also uses laser sensors to judge the distance to potential obstacles, enabling it to stop safely and avoid collisions.
"We are seeking out leading-edge technology start-ups and helping them to grow through access to expertise and the opportunity to test and refine their innovative solutions," said Leendert Den Hollander, Vice President and General Manager at CCEP.
"The TeleRetail robots are a perfect example of how we are trialling technology that could enable 24/7 on-demand logistic services and eventually be something that can be scaled up to larger vehicles.
"By developing technology, solutions and processes, we can improve the way we operate, to better serve our customers and consumers – now and in the future."
This is one of three pilots taking place in industrial, retail and pedestrian environments – to capture data and improve the quality of the software.
If successful, the trial could change the way CCEP delivers products to its customers and transform the experience of Alton Towers’ consumers.
"If the trial is successful, there are many potential applications for this technology at Alton Towers," said Neil Crittenden, Commercial Director at Alton Towers Resort.
"Who knows, in the future guests may be able to order drinks from the queue line to be delivered by robots when they finish a ride, or we could see automated room service deliveries across our 700 hotel rooms. The possibilities are huge."
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