Starship Technologies has received €50m (US$57m) from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the funding arm of the European Union, to expand its autonomous delivery robots fleet.
Launched in 2017 and based out of San Francisco, Starship has now made more than 2.5 million commercial deliveries and has traveled over 3,000,000 miles globally. In the last two years, Starship has been helping companies get food orders to customers at a time when delivery drivers were in short supply, and people wanted to move around less and generally wanted less contact with humans. The company’s Milton Keynes service in the UK, for example, saw hundreds of thousands of deliveries during the Covid-19 pandemic, and Starship has signed some significant partners such as Tesco, Coop and Budgens.
The company believes grocery deliveries will take up a large proportion of its business in the next year to 18 months, according to Starship CEO Alastair Westgarth: “We can deliver like anyone on a bike, scooter or car, but we’re cheaper, and our robots get cheaper each year.”
The average battery life is 18 hours, and a typical robot can travel around 40 km/day. The company now operates its fleet as a Level 4 autonomous system, meaning humans are monitoring at an operations center for issues, and can take over if a vehicle finds itself in an unexpected situation, but that is not the default.
The funding from the EIB supports its ambitions to promote more sustainable forms of transportation, both to reduce emissions and to reduce traffic on the roads, and its long-term goal of backing tech startups to further its standing in the digital economy.
“Electric vehicles in all shapes and sizes will be part of our future, and can be a key part in the sustainable transport puzzle,” said EIB VP Thomas Östros in a statement. “Starship’s delivery robots are already proving their worth, and we are glad to support the company so that they can continue to develop their technology and scale-up their production.”
To learn more about developments being made in the autonomous delivery vehicle sector, why not sign up for the Package Fulfillment, Logistics and Delivery Expo, where you will be able to see the latest products in action. Register to attend the event in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, on July 13 & 14, 2022, here.