Milton Keynes' famous robots spread their wings to deliver in Cambridgeshire

Four new locations, including some in the north of England, will also be getting the robots soon
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Co-op and Starship Technologies have today confirmed plans to extend their partnership and famous MK robot delivery service to five new towns and cities.

They will be adding new robots to take the total fleet to 500 and expand the service to new areas all over the UK.

The first place to benefit will be Upper Cambourne in Cambridgeshire, where local Co-op shoppers will be able to choose from over 3,000 grocery items to be delivered in as little as 20 minutes through the Starship Food Delivery app.

Starship robots in Milton KeynesStarship robots in Milton Keynes
Starship robots in Milton Keynes

Four new cities will follow later. These locations have not yet been revealed but Starship say some of them are likely to be in the north of England.

The Co-op and Starship first launched the emission-free autonomous delivery service in Milton Keynes in 2018. It was extended into Northampton last year.

Recent research has shown that close to 70% of Starship’s customers forgo driving to a store or receiving a delivery from a fuel powered vehicle in favour of robot delivery, complementing Co-op’s pledge to ensure all of its home deliveries are zero emission by 2025.

Starship’s service is now available to more than one million people around the world on a daily basis. The company has quadrupled deliveries since the start of the Covid pandemic and its zero-emission robots have completed more than 1.6 million commercial deliveries globally, more than any other autonomous delivery provider.

Alastair Westgarth, CEO of Starship Technologies, said: “We are pleased to extend our hugely successful collaboration with Co-op and bring the benefits of autonomous delivery to thousands more people across the UK. More and more people are realising that it doesn’t make sense to drive to the store for ‘top up’ groceries when the hassle can be removed through autonomous, contactless and environmentally friendly delivery. Ultimately, we want to save time and money for our customers, and make their lives easier in a sustainable way.”

Chris Conway, Head of eCommerce at the Co-op, said: “Our focus is to continue to innovate and look for new and better ways to do business in our communities while expanding access to our products and services. In addition to offering quality and value quickly, easily and conveniently, we need to do this sustainably, and by working collaboratively with Starshipand other partners with shared values we can ensure we further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, something which is essential if we are to have a healthy and sustainable natural environment to pass on to future generations.”

. Earlier this year Co-op announced a new ten-point climate plan setting out its blueprint to achieve net zero for its direct and indirect carbon emissions by 2040. This includes offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions of Co-op products and services, including its food and drink, to achieve carbon neutral status by 2025.

Starship Technologies operates commercially on a daily basis around the world. Its robots have travelled millions of miles and make more than 80,000 road crossings every day. Users can access the service via the Starship Food Delivery app, which is available for download on iOS and Android.

To get started, users choose from a range of their favourite food or drink items, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent. They can then watch as the robot makes its journey to them, via an interactive map. Once the robot arrives, they receive an alert, and can then meet and unlock it through the app.

The robots drive autonomously but are monitored by humans who can take control at any time.