Co-op rolls out robotic delivery service in Leeds
The Co-op has joined forces with robotic start-up Starship Technologies and Leeds City Council to provide an autonomous delivery service to the streets of Leeds.
The fleet is powered by renewable electricity, with the average delivery for a robot consuming as little energy as boiling a kettle to make one cup of tea.
According to Co-op, customers can select groceries through the Starship food delivery app, schedule their delivery, and drop a pin to where they want their items to be sent.
Shoppers will be able to keep an eye on the bots journey in real-time via an interactive map and receive an alert on arrival which will signal them to meet and unlock the bot through the app.
“Since the pandemic, we have seen a huge increase in the number of home deliveries,” said councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member for infrastructure and climate.
“This pilot will be transformative and will provide an alternative home delivery provision which will particularly benefit residents with mobility problems or those facing other challenges which make accessing local facilities difficult.”
Hayden added that as a council it is “absolutely committed” to delivering sustainable methods of travel to help reach the city’s target of becoming net-zero by 2030.
“We are trying to reduce the number of short journeys made by car, including those made by delivery vehicles,” she said.
Since Starship’s robots were first introduced into the UK, an estimated 1.1 million miles of car journeys have been saved with a 445-tonne reduction in CO2 emissions.
The robots are battery powered, lightweight and travel at the speed of a pedestrian (no faster than 4mph).
According to the start-up, they use a combination of sensors, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to travel on pavements and navigate any obstacles, while computer vision-based navigation helps them map their environment to the nearest inch.
Uber partnered with Serve Robotics earlier this year to pilot a similar initiative in Los Angeles, California.
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