Next Steps

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - Technology - Michael Belfiore

Driver­less ve­hi­cles can make ur­ban delivery more ef­fi­cient, but large num­bers of side­walk ro­bots pose their own prob­lems, says Karl Ronn, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of con­sult­ing firm In­no­va­tion Port­fo­lio Part­ners and for­mer head of re­search and devel­op­ment at Proc­ter & Gam­ble. Heinla says Star­ship is seek­ing ad­di­tional fund­ing while it fur­ther re­fines its ro­bots for pi­lot pro­grams in other ci­ties. �

Specs The six-wheeled elec­tric ve­hi­cle uses a 3G or 4G In­ter­net con­nec­tion and map­ping soft­ware to find its way from a re­tailer to cus­tomers who’ve placed or­ders via an app or a web­site.

Early tests Star­ship has tested its ro­bots on side­walks in 22 ci­ties in the U.S. and Europe.


De­liv­er­ies The re­tailer loads up the Star­ship or sends it to a hub for pack­ing, and the or­der­ing app pro­vides the cus­tomer with a con­fir­ma­tion code to open the ro­bot when it ar­rives. Re­mov­ing the goods and clos­ing the lid starts the ro­bot’s re­turn trip.

Ori­gin Heinla, who co-founded Skype, learned to code from his mother while grow­ing up in Es­to­nia. He brought to­gether the en­gi­neer­ing team for Star­ship in July 2014.

Fund­ing Heinla and co-founder Janus Friis, a fel­low Skype alum, have in­vested a com­bined $5 mil­lion in Star­ship.

Cus­tomers Star­ship says it’s tar­get­ing bak­eries, gro­ceries, couri­ers, and other busi­nesses look­ing to de­liver within a 10-square-mile area. (The ro­bots can travel for more than two hours on a full charge.)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.