Starship Technologies has announced a major commercial rollout of autonomous delivery services for corporate and academic campuses across the U.S. and Europe. This comes on top of continued growth in robotic food, grocery and parcel delivery in residential neighbourhoods. For more information see the IDTechEx report on mobile robots and last mile electric vehicles.
Starship's initiative is the first large scale deployment of autonomous delivery services, supporting campuses by implementing robots to assist in work and school environments. The robots offer on-demand delivery anywhere on participating campuses via an app, offering employees the flexibility and convenience of having food delivery when and where they want, eliminating unwanted errands and waiting in line, or transporting items to and from other locations on campus.
The robots can be easily deployed in specially-designed pods that can be stationed around campuses, providing automated battery-swapping as well as housing for the robots while off duty. The pods can be designed to fit in with the architecture of the campus or neighborhood they operate on, and come in various sizes to accommodate different numbers of robots.
"We've partnered with Compass Group on the Intuit Mountain View campus in the U.S. to provide accessible, convenient and sustainable robotic delivery," said CEO, Ahti Heinla, Starship Technologies, "and after a successful start to the year and great reception to our robots, we are planning to dramatically expand our services and distribute thousands of robots across campuses around the world by 2019."
The campus launch represents a major milestone in the growth of Starship Technologies, expanding on commercial delivery pilot programs in the US, UK, Germany, Switzerland and Estonia. Robots developed by Starship Technologies have now covered over 100,000 miles around the world in 20 countries and over 100 cities, encountering over 15 million people along the way. Starship robots on campuses help increase efficiency and let employees make the most out of work environments that now often include recreational amenities to support and encourage a better work-life balance.
On Intuit's Mountain View campus, workers can order food and drink via the Starship app for delivery throughout the day across all 4.3 acres of the Intuit campus. On average, a Starship robot takes 17 minutes to deliver food, coffee or snacks on the campus, giving people more time to be productive or enjoy their breaks around their campus, instead of standing in line.
Starship's robots can deliver all manner of items from food and office stationery to tools and spare parts in large Campus environments. To date, the most common Starship delivery item at Intuit has been breakfast sandwiches, giving employees access to a meal frequently skipped. "I normally miss breakfast because I'm in a rush on the way to work, but this service has allowed me to have breakfast again, by bringing it to me," said Ha Ly, Lifecycle Marketing Manager at Intuit.
On average, people spend 73% of their work day sitting at their desks. Prolonged desk sitting is proven to be bad for physical health and mental well-being. Reaction to the robots has been overwhelmingly positive from workers on the Intuit campus, which also encourages their staff to move around and take advantage of a campus that offers an outdoor area including basketball courts, a reflection garden, an outdoor patio with Wi-Fi and vegetation to encourage local wildlife.
"It didn't take long after injuring my foot to fully appreciate the capabilities of Starship's campus delivery," said Srivathsan Canchi, a Product Lead at Intuit. "I love that I was able to get my coffee delivered to my doorstep! From the first time that you use this service, it's easy to see all the ways it can enhance your work experience. For example, I probably won't use outside vendors to deliver our lunch meetings anymore, now I'll just use Starship instead."
Source and top image: Starship Technologies
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