Autonomous delivery robots are set to begin operating in Greater Manchester as part of a partnership between the Co-op and robotics firm Starship Technologies.
Based in San Francisco, Starship Technologies has grown a significant UK presence since it was founded in 2014 by former Skype employees.
The US tech company has previously deployed delivery robots in the UK as part of a lockdown delivery service in Milton Keynes back in 2020. Last year, Starship’s grocery delivery bots were rolled out in Leeds.
The latest UK venture for Starship will see 24,000 people in the Greater Manchester town of Sale gain access to the autonomous service, which will deliver products from two Co-op locations in Washway Road and Coppice Avenue.
Starship’s delivery robots autonomously drive at walking speed on pavements and follow pedestrian laws. The machines wait at traffic lights until it is safe for them to cross.
The partnership was approved by Trafford Council.
“The robots are a lot of fun and it will be great to see them taking to the streets of the borough. But there is a more serious message here – Trafford Council is totally committed to helping the environment and reducing our carbon emissions and the electric robots could well contribute towards those aims,” said Cllr Stephen Adshead, Trafford Council’s executive member for environmental services.
“So, instead of driving to the Co-ops involved in the scheme, why not leave the car at home and have your groceries delivered by a friendly robot?”
Andrew Curtis, the UK operations manager at Starship Technologies said: “The robots provide ease and convenience for people, while also making a positive contribution to reducing congestion and carbon emissions.
“We are confident that the service will be well received and look forward to a long-standing relationship with Trafford Council to hopefully roll the service out further in the months ahead.”