I had an interesting conversation last night with a friend, she told me how she was stalked as she walked down a street… by a robot in Milton Keynes!
Yes, I know this sounds like a far fetched story and I was gobsmacked too! Even more so when she told me it was a miniature robot and indicated that it was knee height – I was picturing a mad robot running down the street which she told me every time she stopped to look at it also stopped and patiently waited for her to turn and carry on walking.
Then she told me that it didn’t have arms or legs and the penny dropped. This was her first encounter with a robot delivery vehicle from Starship and it wasn’t really stalking her, it just wanted to drive down the same street and that she happened to be walking on.
Public reaction to delivery robots
It was fun explaining what she’d encountered and what it was doing – whilst she can remember the robot had a flag on it’s antenna she hadn’t seen which company it belonged to so we don’t know what might have been being delivered. It’s an interesting insight into how the general public will view delivery robots as many will never have heard of them let alone seen one. It’s not surprising that at first my friend was a little bemused as to why it appeared to be following her but in the future it’s likely they they will become commonplace and people will hardly notice them any more than they notice that there are cars on the road.
Delivery robot in Milton Keynes
Starship have spent some time letting their robots wander the streets of Milton Keynes as they map the area before unleashing them to carry out real deliveries which could be anything from takeaway food, groceries or online purchases. The robots look friendly enough and are packed with cameras and other security features to deter theft – plus of course if you did break into one all you’re likely to find is a Chinese or Indian takeaway destined for someone’s supper.
If you’re regularly in Milton Keynes you may have seen the Starship delivery robots outside the main station building which appears to have been their congregation point. The local radio station Heart also did a piece on them in the video below: