Company wants to test robot deliveries in Austin


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Robots delivering goods in the heart of Austin may no longer be a futuristic dream.

The technology exists now, and at Thursday’s Austin City Council meeting we’ll learn if plans to test the robots on city sidewalks will move forward.

“We’re just really excited that Austin may have the possibility of seeing these little guys on the sidewalks around here,” says Karen Kennard, an attorney representing Starship Technologies in Texas.

The company is currently testing the six wheeled rolling couriers in Washington, D.C., and in Silicon Valley. Besides Austin, Starship Technologies is hoping to start testing in Florida.

“We are everywhere in Europe,” says Kennard. “That’s kind of where we started.”

The company is headquartered in London, England. Their Starship Robots are 99 percent autonomous and can deliver food and packages to businesses and consumers. They are in 73 countries around the world.

“Just signed up Domino’s Pizza in Germany. Postmates is a corporate sponsor,” Kennard said. “We think that we have a track record of doing that.”

Starship Robots have already been rolled out in our area before. Last summer the company partnered with businesses in the Mueller community to test their robots. The company considers those tests a success, saying the robots handled the Texas heat well enough to try it again.

“It’s our hope that if we can find some corporate partners [in Austin] and work out some agreements with the city, we would be operating here in Austin as we continue to build the company.Update: City Council did approve the item Thursday.

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