The Pizza Delivery Robot is Here

Could the end of the pizza delivery guy be near? Starship is the latest in what’s expected to be a long line of Personal Delivery Devices.

 

Let’s order in tonight, your honey says. Instead of the pizza delivery boy knocking on your door and hinting for a tip, what about a special robot primed for personal delivery tasks?

That’s what an Estonia-based company called Starship is all about. The company, launched by Skype co-founders, has an electric, six-wheel delivery prototype robot that can fit about 20 pounds of cargo and can move at speeds around four miles per hour, making it a better alternative than the delivery drones or autonomous trucks being touted for deliveries of the future, or so the company claims. Starship’s mission is to improve local delivery of goods and groceries, doing to the local delivery paradigm what Skype to telecommunications, the founders say.

Starship has onboard cameras and is jammed with artificial intelligence to help it navigate obstacles and avoid running into people and objects. The company has been actively working to clear the decks for pilot testing its delivery chops in a real-world setting. Now, thanks to regulatory approval via the Personal Delivery Device Pilot Act of 2016, Starship will get its shot. The firm will be allowed to test up to five of the robots, starting in September, in the Washington DC area. Starship is also hitting the streets of London over the coming weeks to deliver meals ordered from Eat and Pronto, two of the UK’s largest delivery startups.

City dwellers, get those take-out menus ready.

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