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First snow of winter, and so far Cambridge robots deliver the goods

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First snow of the winter has given food delivery robots in Cambridge a taste of what is to come – but so far, they are coping well.

Videos and photos of the robots on social media show the robots are adept at coping with a bit of snow or ice.

First snow of the winter no problem for Starship robots in Cambridge PHOTO: Graham James (via Twitter)

The robots were introduced into parts of Cambridge last month as part of a new pilot scheme by Starship Technologies, in partnership with the Co-op and enabled by Cambridgeshire County Council.

The collaboration is available to 12,200 households within the Cherry Hinton, Queen Edith, parts of Romsey and Coleridge areas of Cambridge.

Robots all set to deliver

Orders can be made through the Starship food delivery app, which is available for download on iOS and Android, with groceries picked fresh in local Co-op stores on Perne Road and Cherry Hinton Road.

Cambridge residents can order their delivery to arrive in under an hour and watch the robot travel in real-time via an interactive map.

Cllr Alex Beckett, chair of the county council highways and transport committee, launched the robots to operate at Cherry Hinton, Queen Edith’s, Coleridge, and Romsey

Once the robot arrives, residents receive an alert and can meet and unlock it through the app.

Cllr Alex Beckett, chair of the county council highways and transport committee, launched the robots to operate at Cherry Hinton, Queen Edith’s, Coleridge, and Romsey

“We’ve seen them currently on the streets in Camborne and they’ve gone down so well and it’s great to see them finally extending out,” he said.

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“What’s important to say here is the county council is that this is an initiative run by Starship – they are the ones paying for it.

“We’re simply enabling it but what these have really done is allow people to get their groceries far more easily and in a way that is carbon neutral and saves them always having to drive or any other way of getting to the shops.”

Cllr Neil Shailer, vice chair of the committee, said delivery robots have the potential to replace vans and trips by car.

“It also fills in some of the spots in our city that are retail poor,” he said.

“They are extremely polite so if you encounter them on the pavement say hello,” he said at the launch.

Since May 2022, Starship’s robots have carried out many thousands of deliveries in Cambourne alone, with more and more people are using the service to save time and fit shopping around their busy lives.

Introducing the robots to Cambourne has resulted in an estimated 7,798 miles of car journeys saved in the first month and a 1,670kg reduction in CO2 emissions.

Reception has been positive, with 98% of people saying they would recommend the delivery robots to their friends.

This means that 8,000 residents in 3,000 homes will benefit from quick deliveries of products from their local Co-op, with customers receiving groceries from a fleet of Starship’s autonomous robots which will bring the items to their doorsteps.

The project is part of the council’s environmental agenda to help to reduce short car journeys and improve air quality, with an average delivery for a Starship robot consuming as little energy as boiling a kettle to make just one cup of tea.

Who can take part

The Cambridgeshire trial is available to residents living in

  • Lower and Upper Cambourne who are able to order deliveries from the Co-op store at 29 Mosquito Road in Upper Cambourne
  • Cherry Hinton, Queen Edith, parts of Romsey and Coleridge areas of Cambridge who are able to order deliveries from local Co-op stores on Perne Road and Cherry Hinton Road.

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