Delivery robots form orderly queue at traffic lights in Cambridge
New machines introduced to Cambridge to deliver shopping to residents without the expense and congestion of courier vans appear to be encountering the same mundane daily problems as humans.
The robots have been spotted forming long queues to cross busy roads, waiting for pedestrian crossings to turn green and even asking human passers-by for help.
In some cases, the robots, introduced into the city in recent weeks, have been seen swerving to one side to avoid growling dogs or the tiny fingers of curious children.
Starship Technologies launched the trial operation last month on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council, despite green campaigners saying the plan would not work on the city’s already congested streets and sidewalks.
The trial is also set to take place in parts of Leeds, with 20,000 residents being able to order their groceries from nearby co-op stores.
Orders are made through the Starship food-delivery app, with groceries picked by staff at co-op stores.
Delivery can be scheduled within as little as one hour and, on arrival, users are sent an alert and can unlock the robot’s carrier to access their shopping.
Residents have reported several waiting at pedestrian crossings, with some complaining they are cluttering up the sidewalk and causing congestion.
“They form lines and go back to their charging base together sometimes, and you see them waiting patiently to cross the road,” Gary, a software engineer, told the Telegraph. “I’ve also seen them start to cross the road, but then get half way across and the lights go red, and they reverse and go back again.”
Emma Perry was walking home on Friday morning when her dog Tally lunged at one of the passing robots.
“I think they’re quite cool really, but my dog doesn’t really like them that much and barks at them. Someone told me they will stop and wait for you to get out of their way if you are standing in front of them,” she said.