The world’s first robot delivery service has successfully launched in Milton Keynes.
The tiny self-driving robots are being used by the Co-op to takes bags of shopping from their Monkston warehouse to customers’ doorsteps.
Made by a company called Starship, they stick to pavements and paths, out of the way of cars, and move at around 4mph.
The clever little ‘ground drones’ can navigate around obstacles by using camera and radar technology. They can even safely use a zebra crossing.
Already the Co-op has delivered more than 200 products by robot. Customers are charged the usual delivery price of £1 for the service.
Starship chose Milton Keynes as its test bed because the city’s modern road and pavement infrastructure, makes it more robot friendly.
The company’s chief executive Les Bayer said: “We’re excited that thanks to our technology, local communities across Milton Keynes will never miss a home delivery again.
The company’s vision revolves three zeroes - around zero cost, zero waiting time and zero environmental impact.
A customer’s order is taken as normal and staff pack the items into a cooler box inside the robot.
It can hold the equivalent of two carrier bags full of groceries but the maximum weight is 10kg.
The customer is given a link via a smartphone app and can track the robot’s progress.
Similar to Uber, they can drop a pin on a map to show their own location.
“We want to do to local deliveries what Skype did to telecommunications,” said Mr Bayer.