United States

Redwood City Chosen as Pilot City for Robot Grocery Delivery

Redwood City has agreed to pilot a fleet of delivery robots within the city.

In October, London-based company Starship Technologies approached the city to see if it would be receptive to being the primary pilot program for the robots in the United States.

After a review of the proposal, the City Council approved that request Thursday with plans to roll out the robots in December. 

The pilot program will last for nine months with another five robots being tested in Washington D.C. 

After the inital nine months, the city said it will review the results to decide whether to continue to approve the use of delivery robots on the sidewalks and streets.

"This is something totally new for Redwood City," Catherine Ralston, Redwood City's Economic Develoment Manager said.

Unlike drone delivery previously discussed by the council, the robots move at only four mph and are less of a safety concern on the ground, according to Ralston.

She says she hopes this announcement sends the message to more technology companies: "We are here."

"We are a technology hub and we are willing to accept new technologies," Ralston said.

Aside from its proximity to tech, the city staff report said the city's urban and suburban variety of development as well as residents high use of Munchery, Door Dash and other popular delivery services made it a good location for the pilot program.

Those that request restaurant and grocery delivery at a variety of vendors will see an option to have their groceries delivered by one of the Starship robots.

Should they choose that option, a robot manned by one of the two local Starship operaters would roll out to the order location. 

Residents waiting for their groceries would recieve a code that allows them to both track the delivery and unlock the grocery delivery when it arrives. 

The company has logged more than 10,000 miles with the robots and currently uses them in cities in the United Kingdom and Germany.

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