Finland's first robotic grocery delivery service started in Espoo on 12 April at Alepa's Otaniemi location. The delivery service is a collaboration of Starship Technologies and HOK-Elanto, the owner of the Alepa grocery store chain.
Finland has been an important location for the Estonian Starship Technologies already before the food delivery service launch. Due to the strong Finnish autonomous vehicle tech and mobility expertise, the company has been doing product development in Finland. In the last few years, Starship Technologies has grown rapidly in Europe and North America. This year, the company is planning to double the size of its Finnish unit.
Starship Technologies promises an eco-friendly and effortless delivery service for its customers. The zero-emission robots are equipped with GPS positioning, computer vision, a voice feature, and 12 cameras to scan nearby areas for obstacles. The robots are autonomous but may require human help through remote control on rare occasions.
Later in April, six other Alepa locations in Espoo will begin deliveries, expanding the service to 8000 local households. Customers can make grocery orders and follow the robot's progress through the Starship Food Delivery app. After the order has been placed, Alepa employees pack the shopping into the robot, which can carry about 2-3 bags of food. The robot will then select the best delivery route.
Speakers at the delivery service launch included Espoo Deputy Mayor Mervi Heinaro, Phillip Lindberg, SVP of Product, at Starship Technologies and Jukka Ranua, Development director, ecommerce and digital services, of HOK-Elanto.
The delivery robots were, of course, also present at the event — and one of them had a particularly important task. The robot's job was to greet Heinaro and deliver a pair of scissors for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Needless to say, the nifty little robot completed the delivery with flying colours.
Image: Laura Leppälä