Traffic jams usually happen on roads meant for motorised vehicles. It’s unusual for a pedestrian sidewalk to get jammed by automated cars, simply because they are not meant to take the route. But this is exactly what has happened in Estonia. Heavy snowfall has led the pedestrian sidewalk to get crowded by a number of automated vehicles stuck randomly. Only the difference here is these vehicles are not big cars or gigantic trucks. These are tiny robotic courier trucks that are finding it immensely difficult to overcome the weight of the snow that has covered the sidewalk. The scene is amusing.
In 2017, the Estonian parliament adopted legislation to allow delivery robots on its pedestrian sidewalks. All was good until a heavy snowfall threw the idea out of the window. Now, these trucks line up the sidewalk in the Estonian capital Tallinn. A Twitter user has shared a video that showed how the innovation failed spectacularly.
The morning in the Estonian capital began with a traffic jam of… robot couriers! Because of the snowfall, they stalled and could not move. Innovation doesn’t seem to work in winter… pic.twitter.com/z6KHaWRGSK
— Deleuze (@Kukicat7) December 2, 2021
The video showed seven of these tiny robotic trucks stuck on the sidewalk. Some of these tried to move through the snow but they could not. The 21-second clip has already received around 200,000 views and several comments.
A Twitter user wondered how the developers of these trucks did not anticipate snow.
Well well well.
All of those brilliant engineers and machine learning developers from this exciting billion dollar startup did not anticipate snow
— puszysci_na_kwarantanne (@Fluffy4qrntine) December 2, 2021
Here’s a bit of sarcasm that followed.
They just need shovels and with a little extra programming they might get city funding for clearing the streets.
— Sisyphos (@Sisyphos1989) December 2, 2021
These robots move at a speed of up to 6kmph and are equipped with sensors, cameras, or other means to gain information about their surroundings. The idea behind using these robotic couriers is to minimise the last-mile delivery costs. But, obviously, the planners did not factor in heavy snowfall in Estonia.