British grocery retailer Co-op has confirmed the expansion of its autonomous robot delivery programme across more residential areas in Leeds through collaboration with Leeds City Council.
The technology was first piloted by the council in November, with the Adel and Tinshill area of Leeds seeing bots rolled out to deliver groceries for the first time.
This expansion will see a further 12,000 households gain access to the service, including communities in the Kippax and Swarcliffe areas.
Co-op discussed implementing this scheme and offered a real-world demonstration of the robots’ capabilities at the Robotics and Automation Conference 2023. Read more about Co-op’s autonomous deliveries in Robotics & Automation‘s session highlights.
Starship Technologies supplies the robots for the deliveries, with orders being made, tracked and unlocked through its associated app.
Chris Conway, e-commerce director, Co-op, said: “Co-op stores are well placed in the heart of local communities to provide quick, easy and convenient grocery home deliveries for time-pressed shoppers – whether that is a full shop or, for last-minute top-ups and forgotten items.
“We are committed to exploring new and innovative ways to increase access to our products and services, and delighted to be able to roll-out robot deliveries to provide further online flexibility and choice for consumers across Leeds.”
Cllr Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member for sustainable development and infrastructure, added that local residents have “welcomed Starship robots delivering their groceries” and that more than three-quarters of survey respondents supported the robot rollout.
The bots run on renewable electricity, with an average delivery for a robot reportedly consuming as little energy as boiling a kettle to make a single cup of tea. It is hoped that this will help reduce emissions associated with delivery vehicles across the area.