We started thinking more about the relationship to Drones, and other autonomous delivery services. In particular the aesthetic aspect is challenging but also the behaviour, which may seem mechanistic, and difficult to rely upon or trust.
Experimenting with the sense of zoomorphism that sometimes allows us to relate physical animal characteristics to an object, FIDO represents the relationship often attributed to the carer of a dog. (See image 1).
FIDO is a 4-wheeled, self-propelled, carry assistant for a small to moderate, most likely, daily shop. The design of FIDO is envisioned to integrate a number of discrete sensing technologies that would scan the area to prevent impact, and to adapt to varying terrains. The technology is mainstream, potentially based on low energy LIDAR and frequently used in vehicles. The physical form of FIDO includes a central, vertical blue LED denotes the frontal scanning surface, whilst a horizontal red LED provides the same at the rear (using the familiar stop light colourway). These LED features can also provide illumination. (See image 2)
The word Fido is used as a term of reference for a pet dog and in fact ‘Fido’ has origins in Latin, that suggest a meaning of trust. This led us to think that the trust relationship between the unit, its operation and the user could actually be fairly familiar, and therefore easily understood.
Rather than designing a system that looked just like a dog the form has been simplified and reduced to the essence of that poise, scale and obedient familiarity. The stance of the design of FIDO is akin to that of a standing hound, legs poised, head raised, ready to faithfully follow instructions. FIDO’s form is based on an open arch, with side access to locate shopping containers securely. The top surface is narrower than the base, allowing easier access and removal of the containers. This transition from wider base to narrow top benefits the overall stability of the unit – and inevitably, gives more clearance for those moments when fido is taking someone small for a ride.
The concept of FIDO would be to interact with retail Point of Sale (POS), where either:
- Customer owned containers can be loaded with goods,
- The retailer can load branded containers as part of the service (and additionally as a marketing tool for the service).
FIDO would be given a destination, based on the retailer’s knowledge of the customer and then given a choice of instruction at POS, either 1. To head to a destination at a given time for delivery, or 2. To obediently, accompany the customer as they make their own way – FIDO remaining close-by. In this instance, a Bluetooth communication would be simplest. However, it may be beneficial for FIDO to respond to voice command of the customer (see image 3), which could be defined by keywords, again at POS – further increasing the interaction level.
Once the shopping is delivered, FIDO will return to the retailer POS, to recharge and obediently await further instructions. Good dog, FIDO! (Biscuit treats not required)