Council takes a big leap into the future with robot trial

Trafford Council has taken a giant leap into the future by approving a pilot scheme to … bring robots to the borough.

The decision means the high-tech machines could now be introduced in parts of Sale and Timperley to help with household deliveries in the areas.

State-of-the-art Personal Delivery Devices (PDDs) are the idea of Starship Technologies. The firm, which works with the Co-op supermarket, introduced the robots to Milton Keynes and Northampton and approached the Council to consider a similar scheme in Sale and Timperley.

The PDDs, which carry food, groceries, parcels, and industrial supplies to thousands of homes, will now be used for deliveries by Co-op stores on Coppice Avenue and one on Washway Road. Residents book the delivery on an app and can unlock the robots on arrival.

They are zero emission robots that use a combination of sensors, artificial intelligence and machine learning to travel on pavements and navigate around any obstacles. Computer vision-based navigation helps them to map their environment very accurately and a central control centre can intervene if the robot encounters a significant issue. The Council will regulate the operation of the PDDs during the trial to ensure the safety of residents.

Starship Technologies is now looking to start a trial in the area and feedback will be used to decide if the scheme is made permanent.

A  spokesperson for Trafford Council said: “We believe that the scheme could help assist vulnerable residents in Sale and Timperley who have limited access to local shops and will offer an alternative way of receiving goods and services. Residents could also use the delivery service instead of travelling in their cars to local shops.

“We will, of course, monitor the trial very carefully before making a decision on deciding whether the scheme would be introduced on a permanent basis.”



Posted on Wednesday 30th November 2022