UK Startup Delivers Goods On Demand Via Robots

A U.K.-based startup has launched delivery by robot in a southern England town. According to reports, autonomous robot startup Starship Technologies is now available for people living in the U.K. town of Milton Keynes.

To use the on-demand package delivery system, users need to install the app, which will inform them once their package arrives at the company’s local facility so they can then request a Starship bot to deliver the item. The app also allows the package to be tracked through every step of the delivery process.

Starship delivers to homes within a two-mile radius, but has plans to expand in the future. In fact, by the end of the year, Starship would like for the service to be available to residents in the San Francisco Bay Area. Pricing has yet to be determined in the U.S., but in the U.K., Starship offers the first month for free, then £7.99 ($10.30 USD) per month for an unlimited number of package deliveries.

Launched in 2014 by two Skype Co-founders, Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, Starship recently raised $25 million from Matrix Partners and Morpheus Ventures. New investors include Airbnb Co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk, Skype founding engineer Jaan Tallinn, among others. So far, Starship has raised $42.2 million in total.

Last year, Starship partnered in the U.S. with DoorDash and Postmates to test its robots in Redwood City, CA and Washington, D.C. The report noted that Starship’s robots are a “cooler on wheels,” while others have said it looks more like R2-D2. Either way, the robots can carry about 40 pounds (of food) with the ability to travel at about 4 miles per hour.

Powered by a lithium-ion battery, the bot can move along sidewalks and across streets and has already gained basic permission to start making deliveries within a two-mile radius. They’re not completely on their own: A human remotely controls the bot through an app that uses street map data to get the bot where it needs to go and back.


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