Starship Technologies picks up €50M from the EU’s investment arm to expand its fleet of autonomous delivery robots

January 25, 2022, at 3:04 AM.One of the bigger names in the world of self-drive delivery vehicles, Starship Technologies, has been on a roll during Covid-19, providing extra (unmanned) horsepower to distribute food and other goods between stores. It is getting funding and an endorsement Europe to further its growth.The European Investment Bank gave the startup 50 million, which is just under $57 million at today's rates. This is a quasi-equity facility, meaning there is a venture loan involved in the mix.Westgarth said that it doesn't rule out raising more funding from investors if it doesn't reveal its valuation with this investment. In January of last year, the company raised a further $17 million with strategic backers including the investment arm of the Japanese electronics giant, as well as Morpheus Venture, which led the Series A. It has made more than 2.5 million commercial deliveries and traveled over 3 million miles. Westgarth's fleet makes 10,000 deliveries per day.After running pilots with delivery companies in the U.S., and then deployment in closed campus environments, the company decided to change its name to Starship. The repercussions of that time are that Starship has yet to launch in its home city, and that another robotic delivery startup, Marble, butted heads with city regulators. Caterpillar now ownsMarble.It has had a significant presence in Europe, with its primary R&D operation based out of Tallinn, in Estonia, and its first substantial city deployment in the UK. The price of the service varies by city and location, but an example of a service that it provides to a grocery chain is made for a flat fee of 99 pence.During a time when delivery drivers were in shorter supply, people wanted to move around less, and generally come into less contact with humans, Starship's name has come up a lot as a delivery partner. Hundreds of thousands of deliveries were delivered by the Milton Keynes service alone. In the UK, the list includes the grocery chains, which partner with Starship primarily as a delivery vehicle not for its mega grocery stores, but for its centrally-located, smaller-format shops, which act as dark stores. People can order delivery via the startup's apps.70% of Starship's business is today campus deployment, but the signs are pointing to a likely shift.He said that the grocery store will be larger in 18 months. The addressable market for campuses that would likely use Starship's services is around 400-500, but grocery is billions of dollars. Delivery services are being pursued around the world. We can deliver on a bike, scooter or car, but we are less expensive and our robot costs go down each year. The average battery life is 18 hours and a robot can travel up to 40 km per day.The company now operates its fleet as a level 4 self-sufficient system, meaning that humans are able to take over if needed, but that is not the default, since the company now operates its fleet as a level 4 self-sufficient system.99% of the time we have no one involved with our robot. Westgarth said that they make many deliveries without anyone involved.The funding from the EIB is used to help the EU. To reduce emissions and reduce traffic on the roads, it has been looking to promote more sustainable forms of transportation. It has a long-term goal of backing tech startups to further its standing in the digital economy.Electric vehicles in all shapes and sizes will be part of our future, and can be a key part in the sustainable transport puzzle, said EIB VP Thomas stros in a statement. 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