A robot grocery delivery system has expanded its services to Northampton after a successful start in Milton Keynes.
The autonomous vehicles will serve around 5000 households with human contact free deliveries.
The robots will serve the Wootton Fields Co-op store, and are capable of making three mile journeys to deliver goods, helping those unable to travel due to Covid.
Chris Conway of Co-op said that Covid had driven up demand for the service as people sought to minimise human contact.
In fact demand tripled in Milton Keynes, leading Starship, who run the system to consider expansion.
How does a robot grocery delivery system work?
- Travel along pavements and cross streets, just like pedestrians.
- Have 10 cameras, ultrasound sensors, radar, and GPS.
- Are able to see 360 degrees and have a “situational awareness bubble” around them to detect and avoid any obstacles.
- Use sophisticated computer vision and software to identify objects such as cars, pedestrians, traffic lights and pavements.
- Users are able to unlock the cargo bay to take their delivery using an app which also tracks the robots every move.
The service was developed by Starship Technologies who aim to:
“make local delivery faster, smarter and more cost-efficient, With a combination of mobile technology, autonomous robots and partnerships with stores and restaurants.”
Starship believes it’s technology is cleaner than current delivery methods due to using solely electric power.
Beyond the eco savings the service is also far cheaper than hiring a delivery driver, an expense that all hospitality businesses are feeling right now.
The service has been largely successful aside from one particular incident in which a bot drove into a canal.
Co-op is planning to use 300 of Starship’s robots by late 2021, a big step towards an automated future.
Starship’s robots have completed over half a million commercial autonomous deliveries across five countries.
Some of the most popular items are common pick ups such as milk, eggs, bread fruit, and interestingly, cucumbers.