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Special delivery: Villagers prepare to welcome the robots

DELIVERY robots will soon be seen on the pavements and roads in Aspley Guise.

The village is the first to welcome the robots after Central Bedfordshire Council agreed a partnership with the robots’ operator Starship Technologies.

The robots are designed to deliver food, groceries, and packages to homes and have proved a resounding success in Milton Keynes and Northampton. They are also arriving in other towns and cities across the UK.

Aspley Guise was chosen through research and analysis from the operator’s business development team, engineers and business partners.

Customers can choose from a range of grocery items, schedule their delivery, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent and can watch in real-time on an app while the robot makes its journey to them. Once the robot arrives, customers receive an alert and can then meet and unlock the robot through the app.

The council is to work with Starship Technologies to expand the service throughout central Bedfordshire. A council spokesman said: “One of the key advantages to the robots are the accessibility benefit as they offer a service to people with mobility issues who cannot get to the shop easily or people busy at home.”

The robots travel at the speed of a pedestrian – no faster than 4mph – and use a combination of sensors, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to travel on pavements and navigate around obstacles. Computer vision-based navigation helps them to map their environment to the nearest inch. They can be overridden by humans, who can take control at any time.

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