Roll delivery robot in the UK
70 little helpers serving residents stranded in Michigan Keynes
A customer takes a bag from a Starship autonomous delivery robot in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by Reuters)
MILTON KEYNES, England: A fleet of wheeled robots making purchases in this English city has seen its popularity increase while residents are stuck at home due to the coronavirus blockade.
The robots, which go up to the knee of an adult and look like smooth white plastic boxes mounted on six black wheels, are a familiar sight in the city, where they have been supplying food for over two years.
But since the government imposed strict social removal measures on March 23, the devices have been busier than ever, providing staff at the National Health Service free of charge and facing increasing public demand.
“We are currently offering free delivery to all NHS workers within the community. We want to make life a little easier for these people in these very, very stressful times, “said Henry Harris-Burland of Starship, the company that makes robots.
“Many of them are doing … 80-hour weeks and don’t have time to go to the local grocery store, so they use our robots for their purchases,” he said. “We are honored to be part of that solution.”
The robots have what looks like an antenna, topped with a small red flag to facilitate their detection as they make their rounds in the city 80km north-west of central London. They are large enough to hold several shopping bags and a pack of bottles.
Starship has doubled its fleet of delivery robots to Milton Keynes to 70 in the past three weeks. Harris-Burland said he has completed 100,000 autonomous deliveries in the city.
“Many residents contacted us online asking us to deliver to their neighborhood,” he said.
“We are doing everything we can to expand to offer this service to more people, especially at this very important moment.”