Starship Technologies continues to expand its delivery robot trials. Starship and Just Eat, an online food order and delivery service, delivered a takeout meal to a London resident via robot.
The customer, Simone, used Just Eat to order a meal from Turkish restaurant Taksim Meze. The restaurant requested a Starship robot to deliver the meal. Once the delivery robot arrived at Taksim Meze, the meal was put into the robot’s secure cargo hold, and a text message was then sent to Simone alerting her that her meal was on its way.
Simone was sent another message containing a unique link to access the cargo hold when the robot arrived.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the door to find a robot waiting to greet me – it was like something out of a movie,” Simone said in a Just Eat statement. “The only thing I wasn’t sure of is whether or not to tip!”
The London delivery was in the works for several months. Starship and Just Eat partnered in July 2016, announcing that the delivery robots will be made available as an optional delivery method to local restaurants that receive online orders via Just Eat. Starship’s delivery robots have been tested in more than 40 cities across Europe. Just Eat hopes to expand its use of the delivery robots in the near future.
Ahti Heinla, Starship’s co-founder, CEO and CTO, will be a panelist on the “Delivery Robots Knocking at Your Door” session at the CES Robotics Conference, produced by Robotics Trends, on January 6, 2017 in Las Vegas. Heinla will join Helen Greiner (CyPhy Works) and Steve Cousins (Savioke) to discuss developments in delivery robotics, the need for continued testing, and how to overcome regulatory and technical challenges.
Starship’s delivery robots can carry up to 40 pounds within a 3-mile (5km) radius. The robots move at pedestrian speed and use a combination of GPS and multiple cameras to map their environment. They can also navigate around objects and people. The cargo bay of the delivery robots are locked throughout the journey and can be opened only by the recipient.
Starship Technologies recently partnered with Mercedes-Benz Vans on the new Robovan semi-autonomous transportation system. Special Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans will act as “motherships” that can hold up to eight of Starship’s delivery robots and increase the efficiency of neighborhood delivery.
Starship is also testing its delivery robots in the US. In November 2016, a Starship delivery robot made its first delivery in Redwood City, California. The local bakery, Cafe La Tartine used a Starship delivery robot to deliver 15 chocolate cookies to a local house.