A fleet of self-driving robots will be trialled across the borough - aimed at reducing carbon emissions and delivery costs.
Richmond Council has agreed that Starship Technologies can pilot their latest innovation, a self-driving delivery robot, on the borough’s highway network.
The six-wheeled intelligent robots are 55cm (22in) tall and 70cm (28in) long. They can travel up to 4mph. Each one has nine on-board cameras, two-way audio and movement sensors and they will be driven autonomously and make every day local deliveries for consumers.
The robots generate zero carbon emissions and move around without human input for most of the time - but they are monitored by human controllers, who can take the reins if they need to.
The technology is already in use in other boroughs (e.g. Greenwich) and by takeaway companies including Just Eat and couriers Hermes.
Cllr Peter Buckwell, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Highways, said:
“These self-driving robots are an exciting new development in the field of small deliveries i.e. pizzas, curries and other take-away meals. Controlled via GPS they can be programmed to travel unassisted from the shop / restaurant to the customer’s address.
“Battery powered, they are zero emission and good for the environment. This technology has the potential to transform the local delivery of goods and groceries. Supporting this trial could have significant benefits for all customers around London in the future.”
Cllr Gareth Elliott, Cabinet Member for Digital and Technology, said:
“Innovating and using new technologies is a hallmark of our new Digital Richmond Strategy. The Starship Robot is an exciting experiment in robot technology that is a true first for this borough. I am excited to see the results of this trial.”
Henry Harris-Burland, VP Marketing at Starship Enterprises, added:
“Starship is delighted that Richmond Council will welcome delivery robots into their borough. It is a great location and we look forward to offering local residents in TW9 and TW10 access to the benefits of on-demand robot delivery soon. “
The trial comes at no cost to the Council, and, if the trial is successful, it is hoped that Starship Robots will launch in Richmond upon Thames later this year.
— from a Richmond Council press release - 14 March 2018