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Robots deliver in council’s carbon neutral campaign

DELIVERY robots that are now a common sight on the streets and redways of Milton Keynes are making a significant contribution to the city’s bid to become carbon neutral by the end of the decade.

New research by their operator Starship Technologies and Milton Keynes Council has found that the emission-free autonomous delivery service has replaced around 280,000 car journeys since the robots arrived in April 2018.

It is the equivalent of more than 500,000 miles and has saved some 137 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and a significant amount of microparticles known to have an adverse impact on human health, the study says.

Starship’s delivery robots are powered by zero carbon electricity and are part of work geared towards the council’s commitment for Milton Keynes to become carbon negative by 2050.

The Starship delivery robots are a common sight on the streets of Milton Keynes.

“An average delivery for a Starship robot consumes as little energy as boiling the kettle to make just one cup of tea,” said Volker Beckers, special advisor to the Starship Technologies board.

Research carried out by Birmingham Institute for Forest Research and Lancaster University’s Environment Centre put Milton Keynes at the top of more than 140 cities for its low air pollution levels. Last year, Milton Keynes Council announced its Sustainability Strategy and Biodiversity Action Plan for how Milton Keynes will become a world-leading sustainable city.

The council is looking at how transport and mobility can reduce carbon emissions and is a UK leader in moving forward with zero carbon transport with the introduction of e-scooters, electric buses, e-car share and e-cargo cycles as well as its smart city energy management systems. 

Cllr Jennifer Willson-Marklew, cabinet member for climate action and sustainability, said: “We are delighted that Starship’s service is helping residents and businesses receive deliveries in an efficient and sustainable way. The operations are a great success and the results are testament to how thinking differently about our carbon challenges can deliver better outcomes all round. 

“Whether it is Starship, more electric vehicle charging or electric buses, Milton Keynes will continue establishing itself as a modern, forward-thinking city that is ready to take on the climate challenge head on.”

Cllr Jennifer Willson-Marklew

Starship robots have completed more than two million deliveries worldwide. Mr Beckers said: “These initial findings therefore demonstrate the significantly positive impact that electrically powered robots can have in helping to reduce harmful emissions and how energy could be used more effectively.

“Starship remains as committed as ever to working closely with Milton Keynes Council and helping to tackle some of the huge challenges in discussion surrounding COP26.”

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