Your next delivery guy may not be a human at all, at least if you live in London. That's where the new Starship autonomous delivery vehicle—which may be better known as a robot—will launch before service is expanded elsewhere.
Capable of delivering small items like groceries or hardware, the six-wheeled Starship robot will arrive on London's streets for testing in the next couple weeks. They'll be based in grocery stores, delivery hubs, and restaurant kitchens, and when an order is placed, they'll be loaded up and sent on their way. The little Starships' secure cargo holds can carry about two grocery bags worth of items. Users can unlock the robots' cargo holds via an app once the delivery has been made.
According to Motoring, the electric robots are lauded for their low operating costs; Starship estimates that a delivery runs about £1, or about £11 cheaper than having a delivery service staffed by humans driving trucks. Eventually, Starship hopes to equip grocery stores and shops with the robot equivalent of dog doors that would allow the robots to come and go as the last leg of a logistical infrastructure.
Further trial runs are expected to be conducted in Germany and Switzerland later this summer, but Starship says it plans to expand service to other parts of Europe and to the United States soon.
Dropping off groceries may not be the final frontier for autonomous delivery vehicles. Trucks, buses, and other transportation services appear to be on the horizon for autonomous vehicles. Stay tuned.