Many Mancs have already clocked that Co-op seems to have a monopoly on Manchester, whether it’s the shops themselves, the HQ in the Green Quarter, the Co-op Live Arena, or the many other Co-op branded outlets in our city. But now you’ll start to see something a bit… different. Co-op customers will now be able to have their shopping delivered by little robots.
Trafford Council has partnered with the Co-op and Starship technologies, the world’s leading provider of autonomous delivery services, to launch the service. Robots were rolled out onto the streets of Sale and Timperley on 15th March as part of a high-tech scheme to bring autonomous grocery deliveries to the area.
The service is initially available to 24,000 residents across 10,500 households, with orders being made through the Starship food delivery app, available for download on iOS and Android. Groceries are picked fresh in local Co-op stores and delivered locally, quickly and conveniently on-demand in minutes by the miniature robots.
The launch in Greater Manchester continues Starship’s recent expansion across the north of England. The company’s robots are already a familiar and popular sight in several other UK towns and cities including Milton Keynes, Northampton, Bedford, Cambourne, Cambridge and Leeds.
With a delivery fee starting from just 99p, Starship’s robots are battery powered, lightweight and travel at the speed of a pedestrian. They use a combination of sensors, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to travel on pavements and navigate around any obstacles, while computer vision-based navigation helps them map their environment to the nearest inch.
Customers choose from a wide range of grocery items, schedule their delivery, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent. They can watch the robot travel in real-time via an interactive map, and will receive an alert when it arrives, and can meet and unlock the robot’s lid through the app to retrieve their groceries.
Cllr Stephen Adshead, Trafford Council’s Executive Member for Environmental Services, said: “We are excited to be working with the Co-op and Starship Technologies to launch this new initiative in the Sale area. 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. 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, 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.”
We can’t wait to see these little delivery bots roaming the streets, and if the service makes things greener in Greater Manchester, we’re all for it.