UK-based convenience retailer Co-op and last-mile technology developer Starship have partnered with North Northamptonshire Council to roll-out autonomous grocery deliveries across Wellingborough, Higham Ferrers and Rushden.
Fresh groceries will be collected by the Starship robots from four local Co-op stores which act as microdistribution hubs in the community, with products delivered from store to door in as little as one hour.
In addition to Northampton, Starship’s robots have been operating in communities in Milton Keynes and Cambourne, Cambridgeshire. This is in addition to university campuses in America and elsewhere in Europe.
Cllr Graham Lawman, North Northamptonshire Council’s executive member for highways, travel and assets, said, “I am delighted that Starship’s rather cute delivery robots will be coming to North Northamptonshire. This partnership between us, Starship and Co-op is extremely exciting and I know it will make a real difference to people’s lives – providing quick and easy deliveries to residents of Wellingborough, Higham Ferrers and Rushden. The council is committed to the environment and this new service is another innovation that we are supporting to help to provide a clean and green alternative to the private car for day-to-day convenience shopping, helping to reduce emissions. They will be really useful for those without a car or unable to get out for those urgent items.”
Chris Conway, e-commerce director, Co-op, said, “Co-op is committed to exploring new and innovative ways to increase access to its products and services. Our members and customers lead busy lives and ease, speed and convenience is at the heart of our approach. We are delighted to be able to extend the service in the area: as a convenience retailer, the ability to come into stores will always be important to customers, but we also know that shoppers want flexible and convenient options online, and so we are focused on providing what our customers want and need, however and wherever they choose to shop with us.”
Andrew Curtis, head of UK operations at Starship Technologies, said, “We have had very positive feedback from local communities in Northampton since starting operations there in November 2020, and today is an exciting day for Starship as we offer the benefits of autonomous grocery delivery to 33,000 more households across Northamptonshire. Our robots offer an environmentally friendly and convenient way of helping people with their ‘top up’ shopping and we’re confident the service will be similarly well received in North Northants.”