Julie O’Keefe, a 67-year-old woman living in San Francisco, recently got a delivery from a tiny robot. It pulled up to her house in San Francisco and inside were the pastries she had ordered from a local bakery. This robot is part of a recent test by a company known as Starship Technologies. They have developed a line of autonomous robots that can deliver orders to customers on demand. The company is located in both London and Estonia but has satellite offices around the world. Their purpose is to have robots fulfill the final part of home deliveries.
Starship Technologies has been testing in Europe for a while now. The encountered millions of pedestrians along their journey and the robots handled their job with precision. They are now penetrating the U.S. market. The robotic couriers will get their goods from a logistics hub near the home they are delivering to and then deliver it within a 2 mile radius. Through a partnership with Mercedes Benz, the company is even loading robots into a Sprinter van that will help the robots get to their destination faster. This plan could save customers in select areas a lot of money and allow them to get their goods for under $3.
Starship Technologies was founded back in 2014 by the founders of Skype. Their names are Janus Friis and Ahti Heinla. Skype was recently purchased by Microsoft for billions of dollars and so they two men have a lot of funds for investing in companies. The two men love robots and they also worked on developing a robot that could collect rock samples from the moon. They used this same technology to create their autonomous delivery robots. The bots can use camera, GPS, proprietary map technology, and special software to navigate the world around them. It is planned to have the robots aid senior citizens who have severe mobility issues in the near future too.
Brad Templeton is an advisor working for Starship Technologies. In a recent interview, he commented that there are many boomers who are retiring and they have needs this robot could help to fulfill. It will also be economical for them. You can read more about the autonomous robots here in an article from Business Insider.