Package delivery robots coming to the Bay Area
- Autonomous delivery robots made by Starship Technologies will deliver packages to urban dwellers in the Milton Keynes area of the U.K., and will expand to the San Francisco area by the end of the year, the company told Supply Chain Dive in an email.
- Initially, autonomous parcel deliveries will be available within a three-mile radius of Starship facilities with robots making 15 to 25 deliveries per day operating from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- The robots are able to make the journey to the user's door using "many sensors, including 10 cameras, ultrasound sensors, radar, and GPS," Henry Harris-Burland, vice president of marketing for Starship Technologies said in an email.
Stolen and missed deliveries can be a customer service nightmare for parcel carriers and shippers, according to the Shorr 2017 Package Theft Report. In the study, 41% of respondents said they avoid purchasing certain items online to avoid package theft.
As a result, two types of technology solutions have arisen to face the problem:
- Digital door locks like the ones offered by Latch and Amazon Key allow users to provide permission to enter a space remotely is the first.
- The Starship model of accepting packages and arranging secondary delivery at the user's convenience is the second — it was also the original model of last-mile startup Parcel, which used vans and human labor to deliver packages at prearranged times via text and was acquired by Walmart last year.
The two-foot-tall Starship Technologies robots include a locked container large enough for two large grocery bags, and have been tested in a series of other partnerships and pilots — perhaps most notably delivering food in London, Hamburg, Germany and Washington, D.C..
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