Forget drones — Starship Technologies wants to deliver goods with six-wheeled robots

Two former Skype co-founders, Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, are jumping on the automated delivery bandwagon this week with the launch of a new company called Starship Technologies. However, rather than using airborne, drone-based delivery methods like Amazon and Google, the company is proposing an Earth-bound delivery solution that relies on a fleet of autonomous, road-bound delivery robots.

Starship’s terrestrial delivery robots are designed to be ecologically friendly and extremely efficient. “Our vision revolves around three zeroes – zero cost, zero waiting time, and zero environmental impact. We want to do to local deliveries what Skype did to telecommunications.” said Starship CEO Ahti Heinla.

starship technologiesThe robots are capable of carrying two grocery bags worth of goods, and can deliver their cargo in under 30 minutes from a local shipping facility or retail store. Customers can chose a specific delivery time and then track the robot as it moves towards its destination using a mobile app. The robot drives autonomously on sidewalks at speeds yup to 4 miles per hour, blending in with foot traffic. A human operator overseas the robot and is available if a safety issue requires their intervention. Once the robot arrives, only the intended recipient can unlock the cargo.

The fleet is designed to help retailers with the “last mile” — the stage of shipping that brings the actual package to a customer’s home. This part of the delivery chain is costly to retailers and frustrating to customers who have a date, but not an exact time when their pack package will arrive. Starship’s solution is affordable, allowing retailers to ship cargo to a hub that is delivered autonomously by robots at a fraction of current last mile delivery costs. Customers also have the convenience of scheduling a delivery to fit their needs and the ability to track the package as it arrives.

Starship Technologies is currently testing and demonstrating prototype robots to interested service partners. The company plans to launch its first pilot robot delivery system in the US, UK and other countries beginning in 2016.

Cars

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.
Smart Home

Postmates now offers a way to get free delivery on meal orders

Postmates is offering customers the chance to order meals with free delivery. But you'll have to be cool with the idea of waiting a little longer, as the delivery driver will be carrying other meals for different customers.
Cars

Tesla lets you skip the dealership, order a car from the comfort of your couch

Tesla has always bypassed traditional dealerships, and it has now adopted an online-only sales model that lets customers configure and order their car without leaving their couch. Here's what you need to know.
Cars

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.
Emerging Tech

A 3D printer the size of a small barn will produce entire homes in Saudi Arabia

If you’re looking for a 3D printer that can comfortably fit on the side of your desk… well, Danish company Cobod International’s enormous new 3D house printer probably isn’t for you.
Deals

Need a ride? Amazon is slashing prices on popular electric scooters

If you’re not much of a cyclist or if you’re looking for a lazier way to zip about town, an electric scooter should be right up your alley. Two of our favorites, the foldable Glion Dolly and the eco-friendly Razor scooter, are on sale…
Emerging Tech

Unexpected particle plumes discovered jetting out of asteroid Bennu

The OSIRIS-REx craft traveled to asteroid Bennu last year and won't return until 2023. But the mission is already throwing up unexpected findings, like plumes of particles which are being ejected from the surface of the asteroid.
Emerging Tech

Trip to Neptune’s moon, Triton, could inform search for extraterrestrial life

NASA has proposed sending a craft to Neptune to study its largest moon, Triton. Studying Triton could offer clues to how liquid water is maintained on planets, which may indicate what to look for when searching for life beyond our planet.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover passes its tests with flying colors

The Mars 2020 rover team has been undertaking a series of tests to see if the craft will be able to launch, navigate, and land on the Red Planet. Called Systems Test 1, or ST1, these tests represent the first test drive of the new rover.
Outdoors

Light up the night! Here are the five best headlamps money can buy

Headlamps make all the difference when camping or walking the dog at night, especially when you're in need of both hands. From Petzl to Tikkid, here are some of the best headlamps on the market.
Emerging Tech

A hive of activity: Using honeybees to measure urban pollution

According to a new study from Vancouver, bees could help us understand urban pollution. Scientists have found an innovative way to measure the level of source of pollution in urban environments: by analyzing honey.
Emerging Tech

Spacewalk a success as astronauts upgrade batteries on the ISS

The International Space Station was treated to some new batteries on Friday, thanks to two NASA astronauts who took a spacewalk for nearly seven hours in order to complete the upgrades.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Asteroid Ryugu is porous, shaped like a spinning top, and is formed of rubble

The Japanese Space Agency has been exploring a distant asteroid named Ryugu with its probe, Hayabusa 2. Now the first results from study of the asteroid are in, with three new papers published.