Robot delivery service being ‘evaluated’ by Tesco

By Matt Atherton

- Last updated on GMT

Tesco is 'reviewing' its trial of automated delivery
Tesco is 'reviewing' its trial of automated delivery

Related tags Customer service The delivery Tesco

Automated delivery of groceries took a step forward last month, after Tesco revealed it had trialled a robot delivery service, while Amazon devoted an entire site to developing drone technology.

Tesco said it was considering extending its robot delivery trial, after completing a one-off pilot at the end of May. The robot, developed by technology firm Starship Technologies, could deliver groceries to customers within 30 minutes of ordering.

A Tesco spokesman said: “We are always looking at new ways to improve the shopping experience for our customers. We carried out a one-off trial as part of our Tesco Now initiative in partnership with Starship Technologies.

‘Reviewing feedback’

“We learnt a great deal from this trial, and we’ll be reviewing feedback before deciding on our next steps.”

The robots can travel within a three-mile radius, and can carry up to 18kg, according to Starship Technologies. The robot will be locked throughout the journey, and travels at about walking pace. The customer can track the delivery via smartphone on its journey.

Starship Technologies’ robot is already used by takeaway delivery service Just Eat, and delivery firm Hermes in Germany.

Over 400 ‘highly-skilled’ workers

Earlier in the month, Amazon said it would focus developing delivery drones​ at its Cambridge site. The site will have capacity for over 400 “highly-skilled”​ workers, including machine-learning scientists, knowledge engineers, data scientists, mathematical modellers, speech scientists and software engineers.

Minister of state for digital and culture Matt Hancock said: “This is fantastic news – Amazon’s increased investment in developing cutting-edge technology in Cambridge is another vote of confidence in the UK as a world-leading centre of invention and innovation.”

Meanwhile, Amazon completed its first successful commercial UK drone delivery​ in December. It delivered a bag of popcorn and an Amazon Fire TV stick to a customer in Cambridge. It was delivered within 13 minutes of the order.

Automated delivery advancement – at a glance

  • Tesco trials robot delivery service
  • Assessing whether to take trial forward
  • Amazon to focus drone technology in one site

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