Delivering food and parcels for up to two miles, a small fleet of robots – with human handlers – are quietly testing a gamechanger in ‘last-mile logistics’

The big Japanese akita dog is stopped in his tracks by the box on wheels, unsure whether it is an equal to be greeted or another south London surface to be marked. His owner, hot on his heels, is just as surprised when he rounds the corner.

“STOP, in the name of love!” a man sings at the machine, palm outstretched, jumping back in mock alarm. “What the hell is that?”

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