Nation’s biggest retailer tries out machine which could FINALLY save us from having to endure the misery of a weekly slog around the supermarket
TESCO could start delivering groceries by robot after a successful trial.
The supermarket managed to deliver a shopping order using a six-wheeled robot.
The robots are made by Starship Technologies, which has also trialled deliveries with takeaway firm JustEat and parcel courier Hermes.
The 4mph battery-powered robots can carry items within a three miles radius of stores or delivery hubs, while customers track progress using a smartphone.
Each robot is equipped with GPS technology, nine cameras which help it map where it is going and sensors to help it tackle obstacles, sense traffic and navigate around pedestrians.
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It can climb kerbs up to 20cm (8in) tall and also works in snow up to 20cm deep.
The lid is locked while it is moving and a pincode is sent to the recipient when it reaches its destination so they can open it. Speakers allow people to talk to the robot and it to speak back
Cameras on the robot record continuously and can post any theft attempts straight to YouTube. Earlier tests found people who tried to break in by jumping on it ended up with it trapped on their leg.
According to The Grocer magazine, Tesco was impressed by the trial and is considering a wider pilot later this year in London.
A Tesco spokesman said: “We are always looking at new ways to improve the shopping experience for our customers. We carried out a one-off trial as part of our Tesco Now initiative in partnership with a technology company. We learnt a great deal from this trial and we’ll be reviewing feedback before deciding our next steps.”
If the technology is taken up by the supermarket, the robots could take the job of hundreds of delivery drivers. Starship Technologies said it aimed to have one operator per 100 robots, with operators only taking control remotely if there was a problem.
The Greenwich-based firm was launched in 2014 by Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis and makes its robots in Estonia.
The brand has the slogan: “Anything you want, anytime and anywhere”.
Edmund King, president of the Automobile Association (AA), told The Sun Online that delivery robots pose a risk to hapless “smartphone zombies” who stalk our streets like the living dead, glued to their mobiles and ignoring everything around them.
Tesco recently struck a deal with Dixons Carphone to begin trialling Currys PC World outlets in its biggest stores.
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