Starship robots: Co-op robot trials expanded to parts of east Leeds

A robot grocery delivery service has been extended to parts of east Leeds after a successful start to a pilot scheme.

Co-op shoppers in the Adel and Tinshill areas of the city have been getting their supplies delivered by robots since the end of last year. Starship, the firm behind the robots, has now received permission from Leeds city council to operate on the roads in Kippax and Swarcliffe from this week.

The scheme will also be rolled out to Wetherby before the year ends, a council scrutiny meeting was told. Labour councillor for Kippax and Methley, Michael Millar, said the service had been well received locally.

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“Despite some funny mistakes they’ve made, they seem to have gone down well,” he said. “A lot of the technological imorovements often happen in inner city areas and it’s nice to see that the trials have hit some of the outer areas. It’s good to see the technology reaching these areas sooner than it normally does.”

The Starship robots allows autonomous grocery deliveries from Co-opThe Starship robots allows autonomous grocery deliveries from Co-op
The Starship robots allows autonomous grocery deliveries from Co-op

Councillors were told that the trial has been extended as the Department of Transport does not yet permit robots to use public highways on a permanent basis.

The local authority’s chief highways officer, Gary Bartlett, said the council had been keen for Leeds to take part in the trials.

“We moved quickly because of the demand for these robots, not just in this country, but abroad,” he said. “We think it’s important to trial these things in different parts of the city to see how effective they can be.”

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