Starship says robots can ensure more ethical and sustainable deliveries than “humans on low wages riding through traffic.”
The world’s leading autonomous delivery service, the Estonian startup said it plans to use $90 million it had raised in the latest round of investment to expand its global presence and take advantage of the “unstoppable rise” in demand for home deliveries.
The new funding brings the total raised by Starship since it was founded in 2014 to $230 million. Its six-wheelers have made more than six million deliveries to date across 80 locations they operate in the US, UK, Germany, Denmark, Finland, and Estonia, according to the company.
“Now we’re ready to take on the world and with ambitions to build a category-dominating company that can change the daily lives of millions of people in thousands of locations worldwide,” said Ahti Heinla, co-founder and chief executive at Starship.
Starship is focusing on so-called last-mile deliveries like takeaways and grocery orders, considered to be the most costly and carbon-intensive part of the supply chain. The company claims to have created “the most cost-effective, ethical, and sustainable way” to deliver goods to customers over a short distance.
Heinla, who previously helped build Skype, a video-calling service, said Starship could make such deliveries “viable and sustainable at scale.”
Starship has recently introduced wireless charging for its robots at George Mason University in Virginia and plans to roll out the feature globally as it seeks to build a fully autonomous delivery system, the company said.
Taavet Hinrikus, partner at Plural, an early-stage investment fund that co-led the latest round of investment, said Starship was “well-positioned for accelerated growth.”
According to Starship, its robots can safely navigate obstacles like snow, rocky terrain, and blockages on the way. However, recent incidents show that these autonomous machines do not always behave as anticipated.
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