Starship Technologies is building a fleet of robots for ground-based delivery and has raised $17.2 million in seed funding. Announced by the company on Thursday, the funding was led by Daimler AG with Shasta Ventures, Matrix Partners, Grishin Robotics, and other investors.
The company, founded by Skype co-founders in 2014, made headlines last year when it entered a partnership with Mercedes-Benz to develop “Robovan”. The concept transforms the Mercedes Sprinter van into a “mothership” for the Starship delivery robots, automatically packing and deploying the robots for rapid delivery. In addition, Starship Technologies has launched test programs with Just Eat, Hermes, Swiss Post, and a number of other companies.
Starship’s robots stroll on six wheels and are outfitted with numerous sensors to navigate autonomously (and safely). A companion app available for customers tracks deliveries in real-time (like Uber) and is used to “unlock” the robot once it has arrived. Starship Technologies says its robots are built for last-mile deliveries, smaller scale than Amazon’s drone delivery concept, Prime Air.
“Starship is reinventing the last mile transportation process, allowing convenient and sustainable robotic delivery,” said Ahti Heinla, Starship Technologies CEO. “This funding further accelerates development of our technologies and enables us to launch pilot programs in several new markets”.
The fleet of carrier droids has now trekked over 16,000 miles in 16 countries and 59 cities. Over 3 million people have encountered the robots, with recent testing in Washington D.C. and Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Source: Starship Technologies