Starship Technologies, which builds and operates a network of self-driving robots that carry and deliver packages, groceries, and food to customers, reached one million autonomous deliveries, the company reported on Jan. 27. “We believe no other company in the world has completed this many autonomous deliveries — including self-driving taxi rides,” wrote Ahti Heinla, cofounder and CEO, in a blog post.
Starship Technologies also got a financial shot in the arm as Goodyear Ventures, the tiremaker’s venture capital arm, joined multiple investors in helping to raise $17 million for the autonomous delivery company, bringing total funding to $102m to date.
The company has been concentrating services on college campuses using electrically powered, autonomous robots, recently adding UCLA and Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.
Autonomous deliveries have garnered increasing interest during the coronavirus pandemic for their contactless structure. From a regulatory standpoint, they may see a quicker path to wide deployment, as they don’t carry passengers and have more narrowly defined edge use cases than robotaxis. Amazon, Uber/Postmates, and Nuro are making autonomous bot deliveries today.
From an investment standpoint, Goodyear Ventures is focusing on themes shaping mobility, including electric and autonomous technologies.
"Goodyear Ventures is excited to join Starship's journey as it revolutionizes the autonomous delivery space,” said Abhijit Ganguly, senior manager, Goodyear Ventures, in a statement. “Goodyear's trusted services footprint combined with its custom solutions for autonomous vehicle companies comprise a solid platform to support Starship in the market."