Northampton added to Co-op robot delivery scheme

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Robots are set to roll-out on the streets of Northampton following the expansion of Co-op’s use of autonomous home delivery.

Autonomous delivery robots from Starship Technologies were rolled-out to communities across Milton Keynes in June this year, and last week more were added to the project to serve customers of Co-op’s Wootton Fields store in the Wootton and Hardingstone areas of Northampton.

Following deployment, up to 5,000 households within a three-mile radius of the store in Northampton can now can purchase more than 1,000 food or drink items from the Co-op delivered by robot through the Starship food delivery app.

Customers drop a pin for where they want the delivery to be sent and can watch in real-time as the robot makes its journey via an interactive map. Once the robot arrives, they receive an alert and can then meet and unlock it through the app.

The robots use a combination of sensors, AI and machine-learning to travel on pavements and navigate around obstacles. Computer vision-based navigation helps the robots to map its environment.

Battery powered, the robots can also help reduce pollution and traffic congestion levels.

Chris Conway, head of e-commerce at Co-op, said: “Our partnership with Starship enables Co-op to offer further availability, flexibility and choice to meet community shopping needs for on-demand convenience. We have seen big changes in e-commerce this year with new customers using the channel that have never used it before, and seeing the benefits.”

Co-op said it is looking for more town and cities to operate in and aims to use 300 Starship robots by the end of 2021.

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