Starship Technologies, a startup building a machine that will ostensibly allows individuals and businesses to cut down on the cost of locally delivering packages or groceries, may only be in the early stages of growth, but it has a pretty notable team behind it having been founded and financially-supported by Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis.
The idea here is that businesses can sign up to use the devices for a small, per-delivery fee (negotiated, but falling between $1.5-2.00, with the amount decreasing over time). The droids, which weigh a maximum of just over 18kg when fully-loaded, are designed to run autonomously 99% of the time at “pedestrian-speeds” of approximately 6.5kph and deliver packages in 5-30 minutes. Although the robots are designed to get along just fine on their own, the deliveries are monitored by a human, who can jump in any time that a problem arises. Recipients are not left in the dark, either, as Starship is also developing an app that will allow people to track the status of their package.
And because many people have an interest in doing their part to protect the environment, the startup highlights the fact that the robots are battery-powered, ostensibly generating no CO2 emissions. There is one model for the moment, but the startup tells me that they have considered the possibility of eventually creating various models, capable of carrying out different types of deliveries.
Starship is currently running a pilot program with the Royal Burrough of Greenwich, London and has plans to run pilot programs elsewhere in the United Kingdom, the United States, and other countries in 2016. The startup also tells me that they are in talks with more than 20 companies across the globe, but only intends to reveal their identities at a later date.