Starship Technologies and Co-op expand robotic delivery service

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Autonomous delivery company Starship autonomous delivery services has partnered with Co-op and Wakefield Council in the UK to bring autonomous grocery delivery to residents.

The service will initially be available to 13,000 residents across approximately 6,500 households, with orders made through the Starship food delivery app, which is available for download on iOS and Android. Groceries will be picked fresh from the local Co-op store on Meadow Vale, Outwood, and delivered from store to door in minutes.

Anyone placing an order will also be able to access a recently launched feature from Starship, with three robotic ‘characters’ available to customize the delivery experience. Wakefield residents can choose to receive their orders from Sir Lance-a-bot, Gizmo and Sunshine, with each greeting customers in their own unique way. Customers can also choose a song for their robot to play on arrival.

Customers can select from a wide range of grocery items, schedule their delivery, then drop a pin where they want it to be sent. They can watch the robot travel in real time via an interactive map, and will receive an alert when it arrives, and can meet and unlock the robot’s lid through the app to retrieve their groceries.

Delivery fees start at just 99p, and the robots are battery-powered, lightweight and travel at the speed of a pedestrian. They use a combination of sensors, artificial intelligence and machine learning to travel on sidewalks and navigate around any obstacles, while computer vision-based navigation helps them map their environment to the nearest inch.

The launch in Wakefield continues Starship’s recent expansion across Yorkshire and the North of England. The company’s robots are already a familiar and popular sight in several other locations across the UK including Leeds, Trafford, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Bedford, Cambourne and Cambridge.

Cllr Matthew Morley, cabinet member for planning and highways at Wakefield Council, said, “We’re excited that this cutting-edge technology is coming to our district and helping our residents who might find it difficult to get out and about with an affordable and convenient way of doing their food shopping. The service is also environmentally friendly – the robots are zero emission, people won’t need to drive to the shops in their cars, and it will help to reduce food waste as people can order from a small shop with the exact ingredients they need.”

Andrew Curtis, director of European on-site operations at Starship Technologies, said, “We are delighted to officially launch our service in Wakefield and provide local residents with the opportunity to have their groceries delivered by our fleet of battery-powered robots. The robots have been widely welcomed everywhere they operate for the benefits they provide in terms of ease and convenience for people, while also having a positive environmental impact. We all want cleaner air to breathe, and our robots make short car journeys to the supermarket a thing of the past.”

Chris Conway, e-commerce director at Co-op, said, “Co-op stores are well placed in the heart of local communities to provide quick, easy and convenient home deliveries – whether a full shop or last-minute top-ups. We are committed to exploring new and innovative ways to increase access to our products and services and are delighted to be able to roll out our autonomous robot deliveries to provide additional online flexibility and choice in Wakefield.”

Read more key vehicles/fleet updates from the parcel and postal technology industry here.

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