Watch These Robot Delivery Workers Who Began Making Parcel Deliveries Today
Delivery startup Starship Technologies wants to put an end to package theft with a fleet of six-wheeled delivery robots. The company announced Wednesday that is ready to begin expanding its services from grocery and takeout delivery to packages.
As might be expected, the rollout will be gradual. At first, the parcel service will only be available in Milton Keynes in the United Kingdom while residents of the Bay Area will be able to begin requesting robo-package deliveries some time in 2019. The plan there is to begin fulfilling Amazon orders using Starship’s E-class bots, which are essentially coolers on wheels. They can safely cross streets, maneuver through busy sidewalks, and are remotely monitored using onboard cameras to prevent theft or vandalism. For people who don’t have anyone who can accept packages on their behalf, it could mean an end to rolling the dice by leaving valuables unattended on a stoop or having to lug things home from the office.
“Consumers are in control – they choose when an order comes to their door and there’s no need to use a locker service to collect deliveries,” said Starship CEO Lex Bayer in a statement. “We provide the locker and the delivery, saving time and making consumers’ lives easier.”
Starship Delivery: How Will It Work
Users will then list that facility as the mailing address when ordering something online, for example, and it will go to Starship’s facility first. When it arrives users will receive a notification and are able to select a delivery time for the rover-like bot to pull up to their front porch. These deliveries will be limited to a two-mile radius of the robot’s home base, so it’s possible certain residents of Milton Keynes and, eventually, the Bay Area will be out of range.
Starship Delivery: Why Milton Keynes and the Bay Area?
All in all, Starship’s robots have traversed 125,000 miles in 20 countries since the company’s 2014 launch. However, this is the first time a large-scale parcel service becomes widely available to the public. Milton Keynes and the Bay Area are both ripe tests ground for this new services.
The U.K. town, for example makes use of a grid road system as opposed to London’s radial road system. That makes it an ideal city for launch, because Milton Keynes’ streets are simply easier for an autonomous system to maneuver because they’re more neatly organized relative to the sprawling confusion of most metropolitan hubs.
For that same reason, rolling out could very well be a little more difficult in the Bay Area, though by this point the residents are relatively accepting of this type of service. California has been the test ground for driverless cars from Uber, Waymo, and General Motors in the past. While Starship did not elaborate as to why it might have picked the Bay Area, it could just come down to the fact that it is the U.S.’s tech capital.
The startup did not mention future plans to expand its parcel service to other cities. But if the initial rollout goes well, we could soon see a lot more of these six-wheeled bots rolling down sidewalks.