Starship Deliveries and FedEx’s On-Demand Delivery Robot

Starship Deliveries

As the name suggests, Starship Deliveries is a robot delivery service that makes grocery deliveries for national restaurant chains. The company has partnered with Save Mart Cos., a local grocery store chain, to bring groceries to homes and businesses. As of this writing, Starship has made over 1.5 million deliveries. During the first year of service, the company raised over $102 million and recently announced the closing of a $17 million funding round.

The robotic delivery system that Starship uses consists of autonomous robots that operate within a three-mile radius. These robots are specifically designed to handle the last mile of transportation. They are equipped to carry groceries, pizza from restaurant chains, and beverages. They operate autonomously, but humans are on-board to assist with navigation and other problems. As a result, Starship makes money from delivery fees, which are only a small fraction of the final purchase price.

Nuro’s first delivery bot

The company recently unveiled a new prototype of a delivery bot, which it calls “Nuro.” While details of the vehicle are still a mystery, the company has announced partnerships with Domino’s, 7-Eleven, and FedEx. The first Nuro delivery bot is slated for release in 2021. In November of last year, Nuro raised $600 million in Series D funding from investors, raising its valuation to an impressive $8.6 billion.

The new, advanced Nuro delivery bot has twice the cargo space of its predecessor. Among other features, it includes temperature-controlled compartments, adjustable storage, and a 360-degree camera. While it’s still a ways from becoming a commercial delivery bot, the new bot is engineered to withstand road hazards, potholes, and long hours of travel. And of course, it’s fully equipped with safety features, such as redundancy in case a sensor fails.

Uber Eats

In a recent press release, Uber Eats said it is partnering with robotics start-up Serve Robotics and self-driving vehicle company Motional to develop autonomous delivery vehicles. The two companies will begin testing the autonomous vehicles in select cities this year. While the robotic vehicles will initially focus on short trips in Santa Monica and West Hollywood, Uber has plans to use the robots for long-distance trips throughout the city. Once the robots are ready to deliver food, customers can request to have their food delivered by a delivery robot. Once the robot arrives at their doorstep, they can open it by using the Uber Eats app.

The autonomous deliveries will be available in select areas starting Monday. Customers can place an order online and opt-in to autopilot deliveries in the app. Once the robot arrives, they can use the app to follow its progress, and a secure code to retrieve their food. While autonomous delivery services aren’t ready to take on all of the delivery demand, they can significantly reduce costs and environmental impact. Once fully functional, the robots will begin operating in major cities such as Los Angeles.

FedEx on demand delivery robot

FedEx is planning to pilot its on-demand delivery robot this summer in Memphis, Tenn., and other select markets. While final approvals are being sought, the company plans to start testing the robot this summer. Retailers have already signed on as partners for the robotic delivery service. In addition to FedEx, companies including Pizza Hut, Lowe’s, Target, and Walmart are also interested in the service. A robot delivery vehicle will be a green, eco-friendly, and safe way to deliver products and packages to customers.

The company is also working with delivery robotics pioneer Nuro to develop a delivery robot. The company’s R2 unit has been operating in the U.S. in several locations and recently received a public roads permit to operate on city roads. In addition to partnering with FedEx, Nuro is working with Walmart and Chipotle on pilot programs. FedEx will also pilot a version of its robot for same-day delivery in the coming years.