Starship Technologies and Co-op expand partnership in Northampton

On demand robot delivery service now available to almost 150,000 local residents in the town

Starship Technologies, a provider of autonomous delivery services, and the Co-op have announced the expansion of their partnership in Northampton, with an additional 31,000 households in the town now able to access grocery delivery via a fleet of Starship robots.

A year since the launch of the service in Northampton, Starship has confirmed that residents in Boothville, Great Billing, Hopping Hill and Spinney Hill will now be able to benefit from on demand grocery delivery from a further three Co-op stores via its robots, which are powered by zero carbon electricity.

The online orders are picked fresh from local Co-op stores, which act as micro-distribution hubs in the community and, scheduled to arrive at a convenient time of day,

Co-op was the first UK supermarket to use autonomous robot deliveries, the latest development means that deliveries are now made from six Co-op stores in Northampton, communities in Wootton, Upton, Duston, Abington and Weston Favell are already able to benefit from robot deliveries.

In September Co-op announced plans to accelerate its ecommerce strategy and drive rapid growth in the market for community-based home deliveries, including a new partnership with Amazon and the acceleration of Starship robot deliveries – following its launch in Glasgow, Co-op on Amazon has since extended to Bournemouth, Bristol and Nottingham. Co-op is also the most widely available supermarket on the Deliveroo App.

Chris Conway, Co-op’s Head of eCommerce, said: “Co-op is committed to exploring new and innovative ways to increase access to our products and services. Our members and our customers lead busy lives and ease, speed and convenience is at the heart of our approach. Co-op stores across the country are well placed to serve shoppers locally and a key part of our strategy is to further develop our ecommerce offer by using our store footprint to provide same-day and, rapid, home deliveries. As a convenience retailer, the ability to come into stores will always be important to customers, but we also know that they want flexible options online, and so we are focused on getting closer to where our customers are, to provide what they need, however and wherever they choose to shop with us.”

Councillor Phil Larratt, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Highways Transport and Waste Services on West Northamptonshire Council, said: “Starship’s robots have been a real success story for Northampton over the last year, so we’re delighted to support the expansion of this world-leading service to even more households. Our residents have really welcomed the robots as a convenient, energy-efficient alternative to driving to the shop, and this is just the sort of innovative new technology we want to explore as we work towards our vision of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.”

Andrew Curtis, UK Operations Manager at Starship Technologies, added: “We are very pleased to bring the benefits of autonomous delivery to thousands more Northampton residents in partnership with Co-op. Since launching our service a year ago we have been moved by the extremely positive reaction to the robots and how they have been embraced as part of the local community. While the service has provided the benefits of contactless delivery during the pandemic this past year, we have also seen how people have welcomed the convenience and positive environmental impact of autonomous delivery for ‘top up’ grocery shopping.”

Northampton residents can access Starship’s service via the Starship Food Delivery app, which is available for download on iOS and Android. Users can choose from a range of over 3,000 grocery items, schedule their delivery, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent. They can watch in real-time via an interactive map as the robot makes its journey to them. Once the robot arrives, they receive an alert, and can meet and unlock it through the app.

Starship Technologies operates commercially on a daily basis around the world. Its zero-emission robots make more than 80,000 road crossings every day and have completed more than two million commercial deliveries globally, more than any other autonomous delivery provider. The robots use a combination of sensors, artificial intelligence and machine learning to travel on pavements and navigate around any obstacles, while computer vision-based navigation helps them map their environment to the nearest inch.

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