Autonomous delivery services are being launched in Sale, with robots set to roam the streets.
Starship Technologies, in partnership with the Co-op, will provide the ‘bots’ to serve 24,000 residents in 10,500 households via iOS and Android apps.
Fresh groceries will be picked from two local Co-op stores and delivered on demand in minutes.
Starship Technologies has expanded across northern England in recent years, with robots in other towns and cities such as Bedford, Cambridge, Leeds, Milton Keynes, Cambourne, and Northampton.
Speaking to I Love Manchester, Andrew Curtis, UK Operations Manager at Starship Technologies, said: “We are very pleased to offer the benefits of autonomous delivery to thousands of residents in Greater Manchester from today and continue our expansion in the north of England.
“The robots provide ease and convenience for people, while also making a positive contribution to reducing congestion and carbon emissions.
“We are confident that the service will be well received and look forward to a long-standing relationship with Trafford Council to hopefully roll the service out further in the months ahead.”
Trafford Council‘s executive member for environmental services, Coun Stephen Adshead, said the move would help reduce carbon emissions.
He said: “We are excited to be working with the Co-op and Starship Technologies to launch this new initiative in the Sale area.
“The robots are a lot of fun and it will be great to see them taking to the streets of the borough.
“But there is a more serious message here – Trafford Council is totally committed to helping the environment and reducing our carbon emissions and the electric robots could well contribute towards those aims. So, instead of driving to the Co-ops involved in the scheme, why not leave the car at home and have your groceries delivered by a friendly robot?”
Next month, Starship Technologies will mark five years of commercial service, during which time its robots have safely carried out more than four million deliveries worldwide.
Every day, the robots make 140,000 road crossings and have become popular with customers for their convenience and ability to fit in with busy lifestyles. Approximately 25% of Starship’s customers have or live with someone with an accessibility requirement.
Customers can select their groceries from a wide range of items, choose a delivery time and location by dropping a pin on the app, and track the robot’s progress in real-time via an interactive map. Upon arrival, customers receive an alert and can unlock the robot’s lid through the app to retrieve their items.
The lightweight robots are battery-powered, travel at pedestrian speed, and start at a delivery fee of 99p. They rely on sensors, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to navigate pavements and avoid obstacles. Furthermore, they use computer vision-based navigation to create maps of their surroundings with incredible accuracy.