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Automated Delivery Bots Prove a Success in UK Trial

09 April 2019 - 11:55 by Graham Miller

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Over the past six months the use of self-driving robots to deliver groceries ordered via safe shopping online has been tested out in Milton Keynes, with customers of the Co-op benefiting from the convenience that this affords them for their mid-week food needs.

After initially offering coverage for around 2000 properties, this scheme has since extended its reach to provide automated deliveries to around 9000 households in the area, according to Internet Retailing.

The Co-op has partnered with robotics firm Starship Technologies in order to implement this cutting-edge system, which sees the small delivery bots trundling their way from the store to the doorsteps of shoppers, all while avoiding obstacles and navigating roadways.

In order to take advantage of the delivery service, customers simply need to pay a small £1 fee when ordering from within the Co-op’s shopping app for smartphones. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that there is no need to meet a minimum basket value within a given order, so it could be possible to buy a single pack of chewing gum and get it delivered direct without having to visit the store in person.

The robots not only operate independently but also have the ability to combine as a team and collectively deliver larger orders to the same address.

The upshot of this trial is that the system has proven to be an effective option both for simple shopping deliveries as well as for more comprehensive grocery shipping.

It takes about half an hour for a delivery to be fulfilled by the robots, although depending on the location of the customer this could be completed far faster.

60 robots are in use in Milton Keynes, and this seems to paint a picture of the future of online shopping that will spread across the UK.