Robots from Starship Technologies may carry your groceries the next time you go shopping. This company made knee-high, six-wheeled delivery robots for the ‘last mile’ commute. They are currently testing the robots in Europe, and they plan to test the robots in Redwood City, California and Washington D.C. in February. The goal is to deliver goods within a two mile radius within 15-30 minutes of an order for less than $1. The robots would travel on sidewalks and alert customers via a smartphone app.
The company was created by two founders of Skype – Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis. Their offices are in London and Estonia. There are 90 employees. Starship Technologies raised $17.2 million in investments. Daimler AG led the funding.
The delivery robots can carry 20 pounds, which is about three or four grocery bags. The company has partnered with Postmates and DoorDash. Starship Technologies is employing visual localization technology to delivery goods. This involves real-time mapping using nine cameras. Artificial intelligence is used for navigation, and the robots are 99% autonomous. A human monitor will assume control of the robot if there are problems during the delivery.
Customers will have to unlock the robot’s lid with a smartphone to get the groceries. If anyone tries to steel the robot, an alarm will sound and the company can track its location.