Starship Technologies, the maker of autonomous six-wheeled robots that carry groceries or even a hot meal straight to your home, is expanding into the world of package delivery.
The company announced on Wednesday that, starting now, residents of Milton Keynes in the UK can have their packages delivered by Starship’s little robots. The program will also roll out to the San Francisco Bay Area by the end of the year.
To do this, customers will have to direct their packages to a Starship sorting facility. Once there, customers can summon their package or schedule a delivery with a few taps in the company’s app. After that, one of Starship’s robots will trundle down the sidewalk with the package tucked away inside its frame. The robots can cross intersections, navigate around humans (or stop and wait for them to get out of the way), and their progress is closely watched by remote employees to discourage theft and make sure nothing goes wrong. (The company also says cameras and alerts on board help discourage theft and vandalism.)
The service costs £7.99 (about $10.19) per month, with no limit to the number of deliveries. Starship says it will hold packages for 30 days before reaching out to customers to take delivery.
Why would customers put up will all these extra steps and costs? Starship is betting its new service can quell fears of package theft or worries about missed deliveries. The novelty helps, too. Starship says its robots have already traveled 125,000 miles in 20 countries and more than 100 cities since it started operations a few years ago.
Originally published: The Verge by Sean O’Kane on 10/31/2018