Friendly 'delivery robots' being tested in Austin, TX

Friendly 'delivery robots' may be coming to Austin to live and work

Austin may be getting a fleet of robots in the near future. FOX 7's Casey Claiborne has more on what the robots will be doing.

By: Casey Claiborne
POSTED:JUL 27 2016 06:59PM EDT
UPDATED:JUL 28 2016 08:14AM EDT

The robots look like coolers on wheels and they don't quite have names yet but the company is called Starship.

"Starship Technologies have created the world's first commercially available autonomous delivery robot," said Starship's Henry Harris-Burland.

Harris-Burland flew in from London to show Austin what the robots can do.

"We came to Austin because it's common sense, it's obvious. Austin is a very forward-thinking, tech-embracing, innovative city," Harris-Burland said.

The company is hoping to come back and test them out here.
They're looking at three different markets: package delivery, grocery delivery and restaurant delivery. So these guys might show up at your door bearing pepperoni pizza.

"You'd order something as usual online. You'd be offered Starship delivery in the checkout area. And then you'd be notified through your mobile phone when your parcel was ready for delivery. The power is then in your hands," Harris-Burland said.

When you're ready to get your delivery, just send the robot your way and use an app to unlock the secured lid.

"We have nine cameras around the front and back. Six wheels. It's got various different sensors around the front and back which enables the obstacle avoidance.  It stops it from bumping into anything," he said.

Harris-Burland says the goal is for the robots to be 99% autonomous. After mapping a neighborhood, like the Mueller neighborhood for example, a fleet of robots will have a hub there and start delivering.
And of course, you've heard it said "we just can't have nice things" -- well if anybody tries to vandalize or steal these robots, they're equipped with tracking devices and more

"The robots have two-way audio so we can actually talk to people in the environment and listen to people...potentially even shout at people if we need to. The robots of course also have nine cameras on the front and back which can be recording.  So if there was an incident to occur we could put that thief or vandal up on YouTube pretty quickly," Harris-Burland said.

Starship says in the UK they're launching with some commercial partners to do a joint testing program and that's what they're hoping to do here in Austin.
So the robots may return.


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