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Starship launches robot package delivery service in the UK

It's coming to the San Francisco Bay Area by the end of 2018.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
October 31, 2018
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Starship Technologies

The dream of having a robot deliver packages to your home is now real, provided you live in the right part of the UK. Starship Technologies has launched a ground-based robot package service (the first in the world, according to the company) in Milton Keynes. You have to tell companies to ship to a Starship facility instead of your usual destination, but after that it's just a matter of using a mobile app to schedule a robotic delivery at a convenient time. You can track the bot in the app if you're anxiously awaiting an order.

You won't have to wait long to try this on the other side of the Atlantic. Service should reach the San Francisco Bay Area by the end of 2018, according to the company.

Starship bills this as ideal for people worried about packages being stolen. You won't have to stay at home, visit a locker or (worst of all) call to arrange a new delivery attempt or pickup. With that said, this isn't a seamless offering. Couriers would ideally provide robot-based delivery as a matter of course -- you wouldn't have to enlist a go-between to receive packages on your own terms. And when the robots have to travel the sidewalk, they're still relatively slow and vulnerable compared to courier drones. This gets the ball rolling, but it's far from perfect.

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