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Futuristic fleet of self-driving delivery robots reporting for duty

Advocates hope the initiative, which is initially undergoing a trial, will cut down unnecessary car journeys and reduce congestion.

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New delivery robots rolled out in Cambourne, England. (James Linsell-Clark via SWNS)

By Ben Turner via SWNS

This is the scene of a futuristic fleet of self-driving food delivery robots taking to the streets of a town near Cambridge, England.

The electric robots are designed to autonomously carry groceries from Co-op supermarkets to people's homes in under an hour.

Photos show the white, six-wheeled machines as they are unveiled in the town of Cambourne, which counts some 5,000 homes.

New delivery robots rolled out in Cambourne, England. (James Linsell-Clark via SWNS)
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Driving at up to 4mph, the robots designed by tech firm Starship can deliver food from the local Co-op directly to residents' doorsteps via a smartphone app.

Advocates hope the initiative, which is initially undergoing a trial, will cut down unnecessary car journeys and reduce congestion.

The robots use sensors to navigate pavements and avoid pedestrians. Groceries are placed inside the robot's cargo compartment, which is locked during journeys.

Cambourne is the third UK town to introduce the Starship robots as it follows Milton Keynes and Northampton.

Starship, which was founded in 2014, operates a full commercial service in six countries worldwide.

New delivery robots rolled out in Cambourne, England. (James Linsell-Clark via SWNS).

Cllr Alex Beckett, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Highways and Transport Committee, said: “The partnership between the council and Starship is tremendously exciting and has the potential to make life easier for thousands of residents while also reducing congestion.

"Hopefully the trial will be a success which would allow us to extend the benefits of quick and easy deliveries to more people across the county.”

Andrew Curtis, UK operations manager at Starship Technologies, said: "In the last few years we have had extremely positive feedback from people using our service regularly in Milton Keynes and Northampton who have embraced the robots as part of their local communities.

"We’re looking forward to working closely with the council in Cambridgeshire and hopefully expanding the scope of this initial project.”

Chris Conway, Co-op eCommerce Director, said: "Our members and 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 e-commerce offer by using our store footprint to provide same-day, rapid, home deliveries."

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