Starship launches in Finland – partners first with leading retail operator HOK-Elanto Group
Starship Technologies, the world’s leading provider of autonomous delivery services, launched its robot delivery service for groceries in Finland. Starship partnered with grocery store chain Alepa, owned by a leading Finnish retail operator HOK-Elanto Group. At first, deliveries will start from six Alepa stores in the city of Espoo during April. Starship aims to sign more partnerships with Finnish retailers going forward. Starship is also expanding its R&D center in Helsinki, which plays a significant role in the design of robots and the development of the service.
Starship’s robot deliveries will begin in Alepa Otaniemi on Tuesday, April 12th. Deliveries to remaining five Alepa stores – Alepa Mankkaa, Alepa Jousenpuisto, Alepa Laajalahti, Alepa Leppävaara ja Alepa Matinkylä – will begin the following week expanding the service to 8000 households. Alepa will initially deploy a total of 60 delivery robots.
Starship’s robots are designed to deliver food, groceries, and packages locally, in minutes. The company invented the first delivery robot in 2014 and has since created a global industry for autonomous delivery services. Since launching commercial deliveries in 2018, Starship robots have travelled over 6 million kilometers (over 4 million miles) and safely completed more than 3 million deliveries to customers. Around the world, they are making 140,000 road crossings every day, equal to three road crossings every second.
Starship was founded by Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, who are also the co-founders of Skype, a VoIP-based videotelephony software. In addition to Finland, Starship operates in the USA, UK, Germany, Denmark, and Estonia with a rapidly growing fleet of nearly 2000 robots.
“As the world’s leading autonomous delivery provider, Starship is proud to announce our partnership with Finland’s leading retail operator, HOK-Elanto Group. We’re confident customers of Alepa stores will appreciate the positive environmental impact and affordable convenience of autonomous delivery. Our friendly robots were born to serve, with the aim of becoming a much loved and integral service to the local community,” says Phillip Lindberg, SVP Product at Starship. In cities around the world, Starship’s battery-powered robots have already made a positive impact on local traffic congestion and air pollution, replacing hundreds of thousands of car journeys for fresh milk and top-up groceries.
“With the help of robots, we can offer our customers a new convenient, environmentally friendly, contactless, and affordable way to deliver online orders. These robots have already delivered millions of orders worldwide and I believe they will be popular in Finland as well. We are looking forward to the feedback that our robots will receive from our customers”, says Jukka Ranua, Development Director e-commerce and digital services at HOK-Elanto. “Based on demand and customer feedback, we have an opportunity to grow the network of stores covered by robotic delivery,” Ranua continues.
“The worldwide market for autonomous delivery services is growing rapidly globally, with countries and cities increasingly adopting Starship’s delivery services. As a progressive and high-tech country, Finland is fast to embrace innovation, so we see great potential in the Finnish market and expect to announce additional partnerships with local companies soon. Finland is the “home market” for Starship, as the R&D center in Helsinki plays a vital role in the design of robots and the development of our service. Technological know-how in Finland in online stores, application platforms as well as in autonomous vehicles, robotics and various mobility technologies is world-class. We plan to double the size of the R&D center this year”, Lindberg continues.
The size of the autonomous delivery robot market is expected to reach $55bn by 2026 with a CAGR of 20.4%, according to Facts & Factors.
This is how the Starship service works
The customer downloads the Starship Food Delivery app to their phone (iOS and Android phone). The customer places an order at the desired delivery address and makes the payment with the mobile application. The store staff packs the purchases into the robot and the departing robot automatically selects the fastest and best route to the delivery address.
The customer can track the robot’s course using the map in application, and the customer will be notified when the robot arrives. The robot container lid is opened with the application. After delivery, the robot will automatically return to the store and be cleaned. The robot can carry 2-3 food bags at a time, and one delivery costs the customer 0.99 euros.
Technology guarantees security
The Starship robot works autonomously, but humans can monitor and take control if needed, although 99% of the time, the robots are travelling on their own. Starship robots have been operating at L4 autonomy since 2018, which means the robots complete numerous deliveries in a row 100 % autonomously, including road crossings.
Before starting operations in a new location, Starship scans the robots ’operating environment and creates a virtual 3D map of it. The robot knows all the details of the environment and passageways, including road crossings, and uses artificial intelligence to learn more about the environment all the time.
The robot has 12 cameras, sensors and scans. It takes advantage of computer vision and GPS positioning, as well as technology that detects various obstacles, whether it is a pedestrian, a cyclist, or a dog. The robot also has a voice feature that allows it to communicate with those around it.
The robots travel on pedestrian walkways and make more than 140,000 road crossings every day around the world. The robots travel at a speed of about 6 kilometers per hour and stop quickly if an obstacle is detected. One robot weighs approximately 36,5 kilograms.
Download video b-roll and photos about robots at work in Alepa store in Espoo.
For more information
Harri Kammonen, Manifesto PR, Helsinki Finland
VP of Marketing
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 millions of miles and completed three million autonomous deliveries around the world. Starship was founded by Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis (Skype Chief Architect and Co-founder) and Alastair Westgarth is the CEO.