Researchers plan to augment reality for couriers

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Augmented reality software to enhance the ability of courier and postal companies to make more first time deliveries is being developed in New Zealand by the University of Canterbury’s HIT Lab NZ working with Blackbay.

HIT Lab NZ is working with Blackbay, a software company that specialises in the development and implementation of real time enterprise mobility solutions and services for postal, supply chain and field service operations.

“By adding the functionality being developed by HIT Lab NZ to our solution we will be able to address the biggest challenge within the courier marketplace, which is, how to achieve first time on time delivery and eliminate the significant operational cost associated with having to revisit locations or return items to depots or postal offices for further delivery,” said Nigel Doust, Blackbay’s CEO.

Augmented reality is where virtual information can be overlaid on a live camera view of the world. The augmented reality application enables the courier arriving at premises to view the location within the building where a delivery or collection is to be made. The application displays a photograph of exactly where the package should be left or collected from as well as providing a layout of the building so that the carrier can quickly and easily find the correct location.

Lab director Professor Mark Billinghurst said: “’Initially we put together a demonstration model for Blackbay to show at last years’ Post Expo based on mobile Augmented Reality (AR) software that we had developed after the Christchurch earthquakes. It was extremely well received so the next step was to integrate the AR technology into Blackbay’s existing products, and that is what we are working on now.”

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