Robot Deliveries Coming To MK

18 October 2017, 06:00

Delivery robot 2 MK

By Patrick Hildred

When you order a takeaway, it may well very soon be a robot delivering it to your door if you live in Milton Keynes.

Self-driving delivery robots are already out and about mapping MK's pavements, and Heart's been told by the company behind them, Starship, that they should be ready to go in the city in a matter of weeks.

They have a compartment that can store hot and cold food, clothes and other parcels. The idea is that there are local hubs of them - so they can pick up your order and bring it to you within a specific five minute window.

"We want to eliminate mis-deliveries, we want to give customers a five minute window of time to get their food, groceries or parcels delivered - only when they want it," Henry Harris-Burland from Starship told Heart.

"You can track it on your phone, you can tell it exactly when to turn up, and we're aiming to get the cost {of delivery} down to about £1 in the future."

The delivery robots use sensors and cameras to navigate their way around obstacles and to their destinations. But unlike driverless cars, they are designed to be 99% autonomous rather than 100% - so if it's unable to figure out a situation for itself, it can ping up to a human operator in a 'robot call centre' to take control.

Operators have been taking the pods around MK, but say that - surprisingly - they largely get ignored.

"It looked like a robot but you couldn't be sure, it looked a bit like a fridge on wheels!" said Dami Siyanbola, who saw the robot out on tests.

"I think it's great. It's just another way of automating things, and making things faster.

"As long as it brings me my food and my shoes and whatever else I order, it's all good!"

Have a look at one of the delivery robots in action, and see what it has to stop people nicking them...