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Future of food delivery: Estonia’s Starship Technologies and Bolt announce partnership to redefine autonomous delivery

Bolt Starship
Picture credits: Starship Technologies

The global autonomous last-mile delivery market size is projected to reach $5.9 billion by 2030, witnessing a CAGR of 23.5% during the forecast period. The growing demand for delivery services that are both fast and cost-effective, in addition to the expanding e-commerce industry, has augmented the industry’s growth that involves autonomous vehicles delivering services and products to customers’ doorsteps without human assistance. 

Autonomous food delivery with Bolt Food

While the autonomous delivery services market is projected to grow, Starship Technologies has announced a new partnership with Bolt, the first European mobility super-app. As a part of the collaboration, Bolt and Starship have signed a commercial partnership opening the door to thousands of robots doing Bolt Food deliveries across multiple countries, starting this year. Starship’s autonomous robots designed to deliver food, groceries, and packages locally in minutes, will be used for the purpose. 

In partnership with Starship, Bolt will now be able to offer a full range of multi-modal delivery options depending on basket size and distance, ultimately increasing profitability per delivery. This announcement follows the competition of Starship’s Series B funding round with $42 million last year. 

“Both Bolt and Starship have created innovative products which have revolutionised the way people move around and buy and receive goods in cities”, said Jevgeni Kabanov, Bolt’s President. “We’re excited to bring our two services together through this new collaboration, which will provide millions of Bolt Food customers with a new, sustainable delivery option fulfilled by Starship’s smart and much-loved service which has had great success over the past five years.”

Alastair Westgarth, CEO of Starship Technologies, said: “Bolt and Starship share very similar goals of making local transportation more sustainable. In our case, we provide a convenient and on-demand autonomous delivery service.

Ahti Heinla, Co-founder and CTO of Starship Technologies added: “We think the synergy with Bolt’s overall portfolio of services will not only help Starship expand to new markets but also provide some fun, fully electric, future-proofed delivery options to the markets Bolt serves.”

Estonian flag flying high

Notably, both Starship Technologies and Bolt share Estonian roots, a country well known for its digital innovation. Estonia is home to more tech unicorns per capita than any other country in the world. In addition to Bolt, other tech unicorns from Estonia include Skype, which was established by Starship’s co-founders – Janus Friis and Ahti Heinla. 

This announcement coincides with Starship celebrating another industry-first milestone, being the first company offering autonomous delivery to complete 5 million commercial deliveries around the world. 

Besides this, Bolt has more than 100 million customers in over 45 countries and 500 cities around the world, including in Europe, Africa, West Asia, and Latin America. The company offers a range of mobility services including ride-hailing, micromobility, food and grocery delivery, and a free-floating car-sharing service. 

Frontrunner in autonomous delivery industry

Since 2018, Starship Technologies has achieved remarkable milestones with its fleet of over 2,000 robots. These autonomous vehicles operate at the L4 level of autonomous driving, successfully completing an astounding 140,000 road crossings worldwide every day. Notably, in April 2023, the company proudly announced that its robots had surpassed an impressive 10 million kilometers in distance traveled globally, setting a new benchmark in the industry.

This achievement significantly outshines the recent accomplishments of renowned self-driving car developers Waymo and Cruise, who recently announced reaching the 1 million mile mark. Starship’s robots have covered more than six times that distance, solidifying their leadership in autonomous delivery technology.

Expanding its services to various regions, Starship Technologies has recently introduced its delivery robots to Wakefield in the UK. These robots are already a common sight in multiple cities and areas, including Milton Keynes, Northampton, Bedford, Cambourne, Cambridge, Leeds, Trafford, and various university campuses across the United States. With operations now established in over 50 service areas worldwide, Starship enables millions of people to access delivery robots on a daily basis, revolutionising last-mile delivery services.

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