30. March 2017–
Starship Technologies has been working on an adorable delivery robot and finally the moment has arrived: The startup announced a tasty pilot project.
In Hamburg, Domino’s Pizza, a US-chain, will deliver pizzas with the help of their robots. Other European cities, like Amsterdam, will also soon be testing out their own little machines.
A definitive launch date hast not yet been released, a spokesperson for Starship Technologies told Gründerszene. They are waiting for the permits from the appropriate authorities, meaning implementation will likely be in the next two months.
The whole thing will work like this: A customer pays for their order online and the robot delivers the goods – up to eight pizzas.
All the while the machine is being monitored from a central station, but equipped with sensors, the robot can recognize obstacles and people, avoiding crashes. Customers then receive a text message from the robot as soon as he is outside the door. Then they use their smartphone to open the robot’s cargo container.
Starting out the little guys will stay close to home. They will only deliver to locations within a 2-kilometer radius from homebase.
It is an important step for Domino’s, says CEO Don Meij: “With our growth plans over the next five to 10 years, we simply won’t have enough delivery drivers if we do not look to add to our fleet through initiatives such as this.”
The pizza chain is constantly testing new technologies. They even have a special department dedicated to the project: Domino’s Robotic Unit (DRU). The department has already tested different new delivery methods like drones. In early 2016 the company shared they would build their own Domino’s robot with the help of Marathon Targets, an Australian startup.
Starship Technologies was founded by Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, both famous for building Skype, and has received over €16 million from investors, like Daimler. Other partnerships with the startup include, Just Eat, a grocery delivery service, Hermes, a package delivery company, Metro, a trading company, and Pronto.co.uk, a delivery service startup.
Watch him in action in California:
This article first appeared on Gründerszene.