Starship Technologies, a company that manufactures six-wheeled delivery robots, has raised $17.2 million (£14 million) in a funding round that was led by Daimler.
Other investors in the autonomous robotics company included Shasta Ventures, Matrix Partners, ZX Ventures, Morpheus Ventures, Grishin Robotics, and Playfair Capital.
“Starship is reinventing the last mile transportation process, allowing convenient and sustainable robotic delivery,” said Ahti Heinla, CEO of Starship Technologies, in a statement.
“This funding further accelerates development of our technologies and enables us to launch pilot programs in several new markets.”
The London-based startup was founded in 2014 by Skype cofounders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis.
Cameras, sensors, and other technologies help the robots, which have been described as ground drones, to navigate their way along city streets, but they’re still monitored by human operators in control centres who can take over at any time. They can “walk” at 4mph, cross the road, and avoid obstacles.
Takeaway food delivery service Just Eat is using the robots to deliver meals to customers in London through a new trial.
One of Starship Technologies’ biggest issues is ensuring that people don’t steal, damage, or interfere with the robots. A Just Eat employee told Business Insider last year that a member of the public once attempted to rip the flag from one of its robots that was out on delivery.
The company claims that its robots have covered over 16,000 miles in 16 countries and 59 cities. They have also “encountered” over 3.1 million people.
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