Most of us have heard about Amazon’s plans to use aerial drones to make deliveries. Starship Technologies, a company built by two of Skype’s cofounders believes that concept isn’t really practical – they believe using self-driving earthbound drones is a safer, cheaper, and way better solution.

Their delivery bots are CO2 emission-free, and are capable of delivering groceries and small packages weighing up to 40 pounds. The packages will be safe and secure inside the robots, as they are designed to be very difficult to break into.

How it works

The robots are equipped with six wheels and move slowly, at just around four miles per hour, which is more or less equivalent to a brisk walking pace. Using integrated navigation and obstacle avoidance, the robots can seamlessly navigate through sidewalks, along with pedestrians. Though they move around autonomously, human operators oversee each operation, so they can take control if necessary.

Testing is currently being conducted in five different cities: Boston, New York, San Francisco, London, and Dublin. The company claims that so far, there has been no untoward behavior against the robots during the tests.

Delivery operations

A series of hubs will serve as housing for the delivery robots. Using a smartphone app, people expecting a delivery will be able to communicate and indicate when they are available, so the robots can begin to proceed to their location. Users will be able to track the robot’s location in real time through the app. Only the app user will be able to unlock the cargo within the robot’s compartment.

Once the delivery is complete, the robots will make their way back to the hub.

Scheduled launch

Pilot operations are already scheduled for London during Q1 or early Q2 of 2016, while the US operations will begin during the second half of 2016. The company’s goal is to have a full consumer launch by 2017.

  1. I’d wondered when I’d be seeing Amazon drones. Their new method for delivering packages is much safer. They’ll have to spend a lot of money initially to build the robots but I suppose afterwards they’ll start reaping the rewards of fast delivery of anything bought on Amazon.

    I wonder what Google will come up with it. They’ll have to make their same day delivery service cheaper than Amazon’s if they are to compete.

  2. I’m not really sure about the safety of them… I’m maybe getting the wrong concept, but seeing them just walking around making deliveries doesn’t really sounds that safe, but I guess that their creators considered that aspect and do something about it.
    It actually reminds me to a video that I watched a few months ago when there was a little robot making the house keeping of an hotel, it was really cute, but I think it was more advanced than this one, but it’s still useful, I guess.

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