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Starship delivery robots to be rolled out across Bedford and Kempston by Co-op

Bedfordshire Live logo Bedfordshire Live 21/07/2022 Ruth Ovens

A fleet of grocery delivery robots is heading to neighbourhoods in Bedford thanks to an exciting pilot project between Bedford Borough Council and Starship Technologies in partnership with the Co-op. The collaboration will see 20,000 households in Bedford benefit from quick deliveries from three local Co-op stores in Goldington, Queens Drive and Kempston.

The project follows the success of Starship’s operations in six countries around the world, including same-day grocery deliveries with Co-op in communities across Milton Keynes, Northampton and Cambridgeshire. Since launching commercial deliveries in 2018, Starship’s robots have travelled more than 4 million miles and safely completed more than 3.5 million deliveries.

Mayor of Bedford Borough Dave Hodgson said: “I’m delighted that the council and Starship are working together with Co-op for innovative solutions to grocery delivery - it is exciting to see the robots on our streets. It has the potential to make life easier for thousands of residents across Bedford and Kempston while also reducing congestion.

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"Hopefully the trial will be a success which would allow us to extend the benefits of quick and easy deliveries to more people across the Borough.”

Starship’s robots are powered by zero-carbon electricity, with an average delivery for a Starship robot consuming as little energy as boiling a kettle to make just one cup of tea. Orders are made through the Starship food delivery app.

Andrew Curtis, UK operations manager at Starship Technologies, said: “We are extremely excited to be bringing the Starship service to Bedford and Kempston, offering the benefits of on-demand, autonomous grocery delivery to local residents. Our robots have been very well received and integrated seamlessly as part of local communities across Milton Keynes, Northampton and Cambourne, and we are confident they will be similarly welcomed in Bedford and Kempston.

"We are thrilled to be working with Bedford Borough Council and Co-op on this and look forward to further collaboration in the near future to roll the service out further.”

The Mayor of Bedford called the introduction of the robots © Georgia-Beth McGilley/Bedford Borough Council The Mayor of Bedford called the introduction of the robots

Bedford and Kempston residents will be able to choose from a range of grocery items, schedule their delivery and then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent. They can watch in real-time via an interactive map as the robot makes its journey to them. Once the robot arrives they receive an alert and can meet and unlock it through the app.

The robots are lightweight and travel at the speed of a pedestrian (no faster than 4mph). 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.

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