Food delivery robots start to appear on the streets of Tampere – orders will be delivered from several Sale stores

Pirkanmaan Osuuskauppa has launched emission-free and fast robot deliveries to make people’s everyday lives easier in Tampere. The city’s first food delivery robots have started operating today in Sale stores. 

From 13 June, the white food-delivery robots, familiar from the Helsinki metropolitan area, can also be seen on the streets of Tampere. S Group and Starship Technologies, the world’s leading manufacturer of delivery robots, have brought the quick delivery service to the Sale stores of the Pirkanmaan Osuuskauppa chain. Customers can place orders via the S-kaupat mobile app.

“During the covid years, the demand for online food shopping increased dramatically and accelerated our development work. The new robo-deliveries are a good example of listening to customers’ needs and offering affordable delivery. Our customers can get their groceries within minutes of ordering,” says Asta Haapanen, Sale Chain Manager of Pirkanmaa Osuuskauppa.

On 13 June, the robots will start operating in Amuri, Hervanta, Hatanpää, Härmälänranta, Tampella and Vuoreksi. In Osmonmäki Sale, robot deliveries will start after the completion of the store’s renovation. Three robots will start in each store in the initial phase. The robots will deliver orders to customers up to 1.5 kilometres away from these stores, and once the robots get to know the area, their range will be extended to more than three kilometres. In Tampere, the delivery is not being piloted, and the robots are here to stay.

“At this initial stage, stores have been selected according to their density and population so that they serve as wide a range of people as possible, from students to the elderly. Many of these stores have previously offered online ordering and pick-up, and now the service is being taken even further,” says Asta.

“We are sure that the people of Tampere will also enjoy the speed and convenience of robotic delivery. By offering an alternative to hopping in the car to pick up groceries, our battery-powered robots also reduce air pollution locally in Tampere,” says Sandra Sooläte, Starship’s Business Development Manager.

Robots bring summer picnic lunch to the beach

The robotic deliveries aim to meet customer demands for fast delivery of shopping to their desired destination, especially in urban areas. The robots are available daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The food is ordered via the S-kaupat app and one robot can carry up to two bags of food. The robots’ operating area is 1.5-3.2 kilometres from the store, so you will see them in several areas across Tampere. On average, shopping will be delivered within an hour of ordering. Fast and easy delivery can also be ordered away from home.

“You can order a lunch directly to the beach or a park for a summer picnic. Or if you’re baking at home and you’ve forgotten the yeast, the robot will bring it to you in no time at all from a nearby shop. But you must move around enough to meet the robot at the bottom door of an apartment building or wherever the robot can reach,” says Asta.

At Pirkanmaan Osuuskauppa, the new colleagues have been eagerly awaited all spring. The robots will certainly bring relief to the everyday lives of busy people and elderly people, for example, but they will also delight children with their appearance. 

Robo delivery was piloted for the first time last summer in the HOK-Elanto area. In addition to Tampere, the deliveries will start during the summer in Turku, Pori, Rauma, Jyväskylä and Oulu.

Robots plan their route with the help of artificial intelligence

The robots designed by Starship have already made more than four million deliveries worldwide. They plan their routes using artificial intelligence and GPS positioning. The robot knows every detail of the environment and routes, including road crossings, and with the help of AI it is constantly learning more about the environment – so even the kerbs and road crossings in the centre of Tampere shouldn’t be a problem. Starship robots make more than 140 000 road crossings every day around the world.  

The robots run autonomously 99 percent of the time, but monitoring and potential failure is always done by an employee. The robots are equipped with 12 cameras, ultrasonic sensors and radar. It uses computer vision and technology to detect different obstacles.

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About Starship Technologies

Starship Technologies is revolutionizing deliveries with autonomous robots. The robots are designed to deliver food, groceries, and packages locally in minutes. The delivery robots have traveled over 10 million kilometers and completed over 4 million autonomous deliveries around the world. Starship was co-founded by Ahti Heinla (Skype Chief Technical Architect) and Janus Friis (Skype Co-Founder). The CEO is Alastair Westgarth.

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