Co-op has expanded its partnership with robotics company, Starship Technologies to bring robot delivery services to Bedford and Kempston.
The roll-out which began today (21 July), will see up to 45,000 residents across 20,000 households benefiting from the innovation.
The collaboration in partnership with Bedford Borough Council will allow residents to order groceries via the Starship app from local Co-op stores including Goldington, Queens Drive and Kempston, delivered to customers doors by autonomous robots.
Starship’s robots, which have already travelled more than 4 million miles and completed more than 3.5 million deliveries, also operate in Milton Keynes, Northampton and Cambridgeshire.
Powered by zero-carbon electricity, the robots use sensors, artificial intelligence and machine learning to travel on pavements and navigate around obstacles.
Computer vision-based navigation helps them map their environment to the nearest inch whilst also travelling at a safe speed of a pedestrian, no faster than four miles per hour.
“We are delighted to be able to expand our partnership to areas of Bedford from today – as a convenience retailer, the ability to come into stores will always be important to customers but we also know that shoppers want flexible and convenient options online,” Co-op ecommerce director, Chris Conway said.
“We are focused on providing what our customers want and need, however and wherever they choose to shop with us.”
Commenting on the technology, Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson said, “It has the potential to make life easier for thousands of residents across Bedford and Kempston while also reducing congestion.”
Starship Technologies UK operations manager, Andrew Curtis added: “Our robots have been very well received and integrated seamlessly as part of local communities across Milton Keynes, Northampton and Cambourne, and we are confident they will be similarly welcomed in Bedford and Kempston.”