During the coronavirus pandemic, contactless delivery proved has gained traction. This trend helps receive goods whilst staying safe and maintaining social distancing norms. Recently, TFN covered how new delivery robots transformed 2021. Now, the ‘Apple of delivery robots’ Starship Technologies is out with some new major news announcements for 2022.
The Estonian autonomous delivery service provider, Starship Technologies – now based in San Francisco has secured €50 million from the European Investment Bank, the financing arm of the European Union. It is termed as a quasi-equity facility, which means that it involves a venture loan. Also, the investment round is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments.
The funds will be used for research and development, including building several thousands of robots at Starship’s engineering and innovation facility located in Tallinn.
Alastair Westgarth, CEO, Starship Technologies, said: “As the market leader in autonomous delivery we are constantly looking to innovate and find new ways to improve our service. This backing from the EIB will help enable us to continue to reshape last-mile delivery and bring the benefits of on demand delivery and convenience to millions more people. The additional engineering resources that we will hire in Europe will be another key component in making this possible.”
“Electric vehicles in all shapes and sizes will be part of our future, and can be a key part in the sustainable transport puzzle,” said EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros. “Starship’s delivery robots are already proving their worth, and we are glad to support the company so that they can continue to develop their technology and scale-up their production.”
Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, said: “This EIB funding for Starship is a great example of how the Investment Plan for Europe can boost innovation in Europe. The additional funding will benefit the development of the company’s autonomous delivery services, thereby further improving services for consumers and contributing to Europe’s ever-growing and vibrant research, technology and innovation ecosystem.”
Autonomous delivery vehicles
Starship Technologies was founded in 2014 by Skype co-founders, Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis. The company claims to revolutionise deliveries with autonomous robots that are designed to deliver food, groceries, and packages locally in minutes. It makes compact self-drive, boxy delivery vehicles around cities to deliver packages. These robots are monitored by humans who control them at any time.
Already, Starship Technologies offers its autonomous delivery services in many parts of Europe, the UK and the US. It delivers packages in cities, university campuses and industrial campuses. Also, the company eyes to expand further in the near future.
On a daily basis, Starship robots complete numerous deliveries continuously in a 100 percent autonomous manner, including road crossings. Given that a Starship delivery costs much lower than the human equivalent, it is believed to be the world-first for any robot delivery company. On the other hand, most delivery counterparts are controlled by humans and in pilot mode to a great extent.
Starship Technologies operates commercially on a daily basis. It deploys zero-emission robots make more than 100,000 road crossings every day and have completed more than 2.5 million commercial deliveries. To date, the Starship robots have travelled over 5 million km globally, which is higher than any other autonomous delivery provider.
The company’s Starship Food Delivery app is available for download on iOS and Android to let customers choose from a range of their favourite food or drink items. They can book the same by just entering where they want to get the delivery. Users can watch the journey of the robot via an interactive map. Also, users will receive an alert. meet the robot and unlock it through the app itself.