Starship Robots On The Move
Written by Lucy Black   
Sunday, 08 May 2022

Starship Robots complete tens of thousands of autonomous deliveries a day all over the world. Clearly this is a good idea, an idea who's time has more than come. What will it take for them to become commonplace?

We last reported on Starship Robots when they passed the milestone of making the one millionth delivery. Fifteen months on and they are clocking up more miles every day as evidenced by this video of a fleet that delivers shopping to customers of a grocery store in the UK "garden city" of Milton Keynes. 

Watching this video my first thought was, "I wish my local stores would do this" and then I realized why they can't and why it wouldn't be good for the town where I live. Firstly there aren't any a large, unoccupied flat space near local shops for loading up the robots and there isn't a robot-friendly route between the town centre and the residential areas. At busy times the pavements are crowded with shoppers and even when there is a lull in footfall there are cars. lorries, buses and even tractors on the networks of roads that the robots would have to cross. In short, the infrastructure just doesn't exist.

If there was a vociferous demand for this service it would be better served by stores not on a town's high street - but that raises another problem. Our high streets are already being challenged by loss of shops leading to loss of customers and more shops unable to do enough business to keep going. 

During the pandemic the need for contactless deliveries accelerated the demand for robot delivery and when you consider the benefits of reduced carbon emissions as well, this is a transformative technology that is here to stay - but we will have to solve the problems of avoiding the traffic without losing the traffic entirely.


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Last Updated ( Sunday, 08 May 2022 )