Starship Technologies Launches Robotic Delivery Service in San Francisco Bay Area

On-demand delivery with Starship's mobile robots and app are now available from the Lucky California flagship store in Pleasanton, Calif.

Starship Technologies

Starship is working with Save Mart in California.
Starship Technologies has expanded its partnership with The Save Mart Cos. to launch on-demand delivery of groceries from the Lucky California flagship store with its mobile robots and app.

Starship Technologies today said it is delivering groceries with robots in the San Francisco Bay Area. The company is expanding its partnership with The Save Mart Cos. for the exclusive launch of an on-demand grocery delivery service at its Lucky California flagship store in Pleasanton, Calif. Lucky is the first grocery store in the Bay Area to partner with Starship.

“We are very pleased to bring the benefits of autonomous delivery to Pleasanton in partnership with Lucky California,” said Ryan Tuohy, senior vice president of sales and business development at Starship Technologies. “Since launching our service in Modesto in 2020, we’ve been excited to see the extremely positive reaction to the robots and how they were embraced as part of the local community.”

“We think the residents of Pleasanton will appreciate the convenience and positive environmental impact of autonomous delivery, and we fully expect the service area to quickly expand to more households,” he added.

Founded in 2014 by Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Jaus Friis, Starship said its mobile robots have been operating at Level 4 autonomy since 2018. The San Francisco-based company said the robots have traveled more than 3 million miles and completed over 3 million deliveries of food, groceries, and packages worldwide to date.

Starship and Save Mart grow partnership

Starship Technologies and Save Mart first partnered in September 2020. Since its launch, that flagship store has expanded its delivery area to serve over 55,000 households. In Pleasanton, the service is launching to thousands of residents. The companies said they expect that area to grow rapidly in the coming months, as it did in Modesto.

“Since the debut of our contactless delivery service at the Save Mart flagship store, feedback from the Modesto community has been incredibly positive,” said Barbara Walker, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Save Mart. “We are thrilled to expand this service to Lucky California in Pleasanton and offer a safe and efficient grocery delivery solution, along with some joyful entertainment, especially as the service area progressively expands over time.”

Save Mart operates more than 200 stores under the banners of Save Mart, Lucky California and FoodMaxx. In addition to its retail operation, the company also operates Smart Refrigerated Transport and is a partner in Super Store Industries (SSI), which owns and operates a distribution center in Lathrop and the Sunnyside Farms dairy processing plant in Turlock.

Lucky California has 65 locations in and around the San Francisco Bay Area.

Starship Lucky

Delivery robots outside a Lucky California grocery store. Source: Starship Technologies

Robots and app enable on-demand deliveries

Starship said it robots, each of which can carry up to 20 lb. of groceries – the equivalent of about three shopping bags – provide a convenient, energy-efficient, and low-cost delivery alternative to driving to the Lucky California store. The company said shoppers can browse thousands of items via the secure Starship app for on-demand delivery straight to their home.

The Starship Food Delivery app is available for download on iOS and Android. To get started, customers choose from a range of their favorite groceries and drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent.

When an order is submitted, Lucky California team members gather the delivery items and carefully place them in a robot. Every robot’s interior and exterior is sanitized before each order.

The customer can then watch as the robot makes its journey to them, via an interactive map. The robots travel autonomously, crossing streets, climbing curbs, and traversing sidewalks. They often become local celebrities, as community members share their robot selfies and “love notes” on social media, according to Starship. 

Once the robot arrives, the customer receives an alert, and can then meet the robot and unlock it through the app.

Starship says autonomy is key

Starship Technologies said it already offers its services in cities, university campuses, and industrial campuses in the EU, the U.K. and the U.S. It said its robots can complete numerous deliveries in a row 100% autonomously.

Starship claimed that full autonomy is why its deliveries are cheaper than the human equivalent, as well as a world-first for any robot delivery company, since most others rely on remote control.

The company said its zero-emission robots operates commercially on a daily basis around the world. Its zero-emission robots make more than 100,000 road crossings every day and have completed more deliveries than any other autonomous delivery provider, Starship said.

Starship recently obtained $55.7 million in funding and said it plans further expansion in the near future.

Starship has introduced its mobile robots to numerous college campuses.

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Starship Technologies

Starship is working with Save Mart in California.

Robot Technologies