Courier news from Cambridgeshire has recently injected some light humour into the daily lives of local residents but is also creating ground-breaking advances in the delivery industry. These delivery robots, rolled out by Starship Technologies are intended to carry out local food and package deliveries within the city, being rolled out further afield should the trial be successful.
The robots are already used for food deliveries in Redwood City, Washington DC and California in the United States where they are being met with a mix of excitement and frustration. They perform an important last-mile delivery function for local residents who would otherwise be unable to collect their takeaways and prescriptions, but they also take up pavement space and create a trip hazard due to their somewhat unpredictable movement patterns.
Originally only seen in futuristic sci fi movies, delivery robots are now a reality and operating in our country. At the moment, they are being pioneered on a small scale basis and are being met with amusement and good humour, but residents are wondering two things – will they offer cheaper deliveries and will they push local people out of jobs?
What is great about delivery robots is that they will work 24/7/365 and not complain about the weather conditions, traffic or disgruntled customers. They don’t need to be fed or paid and the Starship robots are even programmed to behave in a socially acceptable manner, asking for help when required and queuing politely, as demonstrated in this news article. Whether their deliveries will be cheaper is yet to be seen. After all, significant investment is required to produce, programme, operate and maintain them.
But the question as to whether they will reduce the availability of delivery jobs for human beings is undoubtedly going to be a concern to anybody in the industry. Moreover, it is unlikely that the elderly who enjoy the face to face interaction that they have with their delivery person, howsoever brief, will get the same feeling of satisfaction from a robot delivery.
What Does The Future Hold?
Whilst it is impossible to accurately predict the future, it is clear that online shopping which has boomed since the pandemic is not going to slow, meaning that there is significant demand for extra workers within this sector. If these extra workers are robots that will not impact on local jobs for local people, they should perhaps be welcomed.
As with all things technology based, knowledgeable staff will be required to remotely operate the robots, contribute to the technology, develop the contacts and contracts required to roll them out on a wider basis and to ensure that their PR campaign remains proactive and positive. Therefore, it is likely that introducing delivery robots to the UK will result in a greater number of behind-the-scenes delivery jobs at the forefront of the robotics industry.
We think that this is an interesting piece of courier news and we look forward to seeing where this project leads.