In 2016, Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis plan to begin testing Starship, their autonomous grocery delivery vehicle. Starship will travel with a more conventional grocery delivery van, and will take over the last mile or two, driving itself over sidewalks and up driveways. It is expected to travel at about 4 mph and be able to carry up to 20 lbs of groceries, which is roughly 2 bags of groceries. Starship will remain locked as it travels, and the customer can unlock it using their mobile device when it arrives at their doorstep.
The initial testing ground will be Greenwich, London, where the founders plan on making deliveries in under a half hour for less than £1. The inexpensive delivery cost will also save drivers from parking tickets: it is notoriously difficult to find a spot when making deliveries, and drivers often end up parking illegally. The founders plan on taking a few days to start-up a delivery area, which gives them enough time to run the robot to map the potholes and other hazards. For more information on Starship, check out the London Telegraph’s story here.