Bolt partners Starship for autonomous food delivery

  • June 27, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Estonian ride hailing and food delivery start-up Bolt will be deploying autonomous delivery robots from Starship Technologies across multiple countries, starting this year.

Bolt and Starship have signed a commercial partnership opening the door to thousands of robots doing Bolt Food deliveries.

Today’s announcement coincides with Starship celebrating another industry first milestone, having become the first company offering autonomous delivery to complete five million commercial deliveries around the world. This landmark has been achieved just seven months since Starship marked four million deliveries in November 2022, demonstrating the ongoing and ever-increasing demand for such services.

Bolt has more than 100 million customers in over 45 countries and 500 cities around the world, including in Europe, Africa, west Asia and Latin America. The company offers a range of mobility services including ride hailing, micromobility (e-scooter and e-bike rentals), food and grocery delivery, and a free-floating car-sharing service. The partnership with Starship means Bolt will now be able to offer a full range of multi-modal delivery options depending on basket size and distance, with the aim of increasing profitability per delivery.

“Both Bolt and Starship have created innovative products which have revolutionised the way people move around and buy and receive goods in cities,” said Jevgeni Kabanov, Bolt’s president. “We’re excited to bring our two services together through this new collaboration, which will provide millions of Bolt Food customers with a new, sustainable delivery option fulfilled by Starship’s smart and much-loved service, which has had great success over the past five years. In the longer term we are hopeful about expanding our collaboration to make deliveries cheaper and more accessible to even more customers.”

Alastair Westgarth, CEO of Starship Technologies, added: “Bolt and Starship share very similar goals of making local transportation more sustainable. In our case, we provide a convenient and on-demand autonomous delivery service.”

And Ahti Heinla, CTO of Starship Technologies, said: “We think the synergy with Bolt’s overall portfolio of services will not only help Starship expand to new markets but also provide some fun, fully electric, future proofed delivery options to the markets Bolt serves.”

Starship and Bolt share Estonian roots, a country now well known for its digital innovation and being home to more tech unicorns per capita than any other country in the world. In addition to Bolt, other tech unicorns from Estonia include Skype, the previous company of Starship’s co-founders.

Starship’s more than 2000 robots have been operating at the L4 level of autonomous driving since 2018, completing 140,000 road crossings globally every day. In April 2023, the company announced that its robots had passed the ten-million-kilometre mark in terms of distance travelled around the world.

Starship Technologies recently expanded its service in the UK to Wakefield, with the robots already a common sight in Milton Keynes, Northampton, Bedford, Cambourne, Cambridge, Leeds and Trafford, as well as multiple university campuses across the USA. In total, Starship is now operational in more than 50 service areas globally, allowing millions of people to access delivery robots on a daily basis.

The robots are designed to deliver food, groceries and packages locally in minutes.

Starship was founded by Ahti Heinla (Skype chief architect) and Janus Friis (Skype co-founder) and Alastair Westgarth is the CEO.