The food delivery robots operating in Milton Keynes
These little robots are operating in Milton Keynes already!
Self driving robots are a very controversial topic. Some people love them, saying they will make life much easier for people such as the disabled, other people hate them and say they are both a danger and a menace to the pedestrian. Whether you like them or not, you cannot help being impressed by these food delivery robots which are already being used in Milton Keynes.
They may not have an impressive top speed like a Ferrari (only 4mph) but these robots are able to navigate around neighbourhoods to deliver food to the buyer. On their website, starship say that buyers will be able to order food on the app from any participating businesses and then select a location for the food to be delivered to. When the robot arrives, they will get a notification and to unlock the robot all they have to do is click unlock on the app. The robot itself only weighs 27kg empty but can hold an extra 9kg of produce to take to the customer.
The robot can operate in the snow, rain and other whether and has a range of cameras on it to help it navigate around obstacles. It operated during lockdown delivering to NHS workers in Milton Keynes so that they didn't have to go to the shops after long days at work. The robots have also operated in 19 other countries and according to the company's figures, interacted with over 6 million people.
The robots rely on machine learning meaning they are constantly adapting to their enviroment and becoming better at navigating their surroundings. Given this, you may be concerned about the privacy issue that the robot presents. This, the company say, is not an issue as the data collected is disposed of after it is needed and in the case that the driving of the robot is handed over to an operator, which is a very rare occurrence only in unusual circumstances, it sends a low resolution feed making sure people are not identifiable.
Could we see an army of these in every town and city in the near future?
These robots are incredibly clever and it is likely that they will take over the worlds deliveries (and hopefully not the world in general). Some people are not convinced by their potential though and the company is currently limited to operating only in areas where they have the permission of locals and the council. I personally would love to be stepping outside to collect my delivery from a robot and hope that I will be able to in the near future!
An army of the robots waiting in a pedestrianised zone