Small, six-wheeled delivery robots from Starship Technologies have roamed City sidewalks in past weeks, mapping out neighborhoods to learn the best delivery routes. Starting today, these robots will offer contactless grocery delivery services to Modesto Save Mart shoppers, in the first program of its kind in California.
The City held a socially distant public launch event on Tuesday, September 29 to introduce the robots and announce the program to residents.
We are honored that Save Mart and Starship wanted to roll out this program here. It speaks to the City’s good working partnership with Save Mart that we can support partners and businesses with such wide varieties of goals.
Starship’s delivery robots are in use at a number of universities and corporate offices around the nation, but this is the company’s first partnership with a supermarket chain in the U.S.
Users order their groceries within the Starship app and can monitor the robot’s entire journey from store to drop off point. Each robot is equipped with an array of cameras and sensors to help it navigate streets, sidewalks, and obstacles through an Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine learning process.
The insulated robots can carry up to 20 pounds, the equivalent of three bags of groceries, up to four miles roundtrip. Upon arrival at the drop off point, the user unlocks the robot from the app and retrieves their groceries. The robot then returns to the store, ready to make another cost- and energy-efficient delivery.
This is an extra level of convenience for residents who may not want to make another trip to the grocery store or are trying to maintain minimal contact with others due to the coronavirus. The robots provide a safe, low-cost and contactless delivery alternative for Save Mart shoppers, since the first three deliveries cost only $0.99. After that, the affordable service fees vary based on distance.
To start, delivery is available only from the Save Mart in The Marketplace shopping center at the corner of Oakdale Rd and Sylvan Ave, with plans to expand to more area Save Marts.
This partnership is yet another example of how our City Council, staff, and community partners are dedicated to helping residents adapt to the unique time in which we live.