Robot deliveries rolled out to Cambourne after success in Northampton and Milton Keynes

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One of the robots delivering shopping in Cambourne Credit: Cambridgeshire County Council

A new fleet of food delivery robots has taken to the streets of a village in a bid to cut the number of short car journeys in the community.

The robots will take shopping to 12,000 residents in 5,000 homes in Cambourne in Cambridgeshire.

The pilot scheme is a partnership between Cambridgeshire County Council and Starship Techologies and will deliver shopping from the Co-op.

Cambridgeshire County Council said the robots, which are already in action in parts of Northampton and Milton Keynes, would help to cut short car journeys and improve air quality.

One delivery from a robot would use about the same amount of energy as boiling a kettle to make a cup of tea, said the council.

One of the Starship robots delivering on the streets of Cambourne

The Cambridgeshire pilot will see people in Lower and Upper Cambourne able to order deliveries from the Co-op store in Mosquito Road.

A map showing who will be eligible to book deliveries can be seen on Google.

If the project is successful, Starship wants to expand across the county and use more suppliers, which in turn will lead to new jobs being created.

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."

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.”

Orders are made through the Starship food delivery app, with groceries picked in local Co-op stores and delivered in as little as one hour or less.

Cambourne residents will be able to choose from a range of 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.

The robots are lightweight and travel at the speed of a pedestrian - no faster than 4mph.

They 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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