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Ground drone launched - the future of last mile?

23 November 2015

While flying drones must overcome complex regulations if they are to get off the ground, new company Starship has a more down-to-earth approach. It has launched ground based drones designed to carry parcels or grocery bags from local hubs to the doorstep.

The start-up company has been created by two former co-founders of Skype and is based in London, Estonia and Finland.

The robots can carry parcels or grocery bags within a 3 mile radius. Starship says the approach will allow retailers to lower the cost of local delivery by a factor of 5-10x.

It is anticipated parcels and groceries will be stored in Starship hubs and delivered when clients request a delivery via the mobile app. Journey time is estimated at 5-30 minutes, and the journey of the robot can be monitored on the shoppers smartphone.

Starship’s robots can drive intelligently on the pavement at pedestrian speeds. They know their location and can navigate their way through an area while merging with pedestrian traffic. The robots can detect obstacles, adjust speed or stop and safely cross streets.

Additionally, Starship’s robots are monitored by human operators who can, at any time, take control over the device and view the world through the robot’s eyes, communicating with people around it if necessary.

Robot carrying capacity is around two shopping bags.

For security, the cargo bay is locked throughout the delivery and can be opened only by the recipient via the mobile phone. The location of the robots are track throughout the journey.

Starship’s robots run on batteries and are said to consume less energy than most light bulbs. Starship’s platform aims to replace door-to-door deliveries currently done by large delivery vehicles.