Written by Ben Hensley
Starship Technologies, along with The Save Mart Companies, has announced a partnership that will bring a self-automated robot delivery service to a new location in Pleasanton — and the service may be coming to the Valley before long.
Lucky California is the first grocery store in the Bay Area to partner with Starship Technologies following the success of Save Mart’s Modesto flagship location trial run.
“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 The Save Mart Companies, which also operates Lucky stores.
The robots can carry up to 20 pounds of groceries and provide a convenient, low-cost, energy-efficient delivery method for customers to shop from home.
Shoppers using the Starship – Food Delivery app (iOS and Android) can access their favorite groceries and simply drop a pin where they want their purchase delivered. Once submitted, grocery team members gather delivery items and place them in a robot that is thoroughly cleaned before and after every delivery.
Deliveries “will cost most customers $1.99 to $2.99, depending on the distance the robot needs to travel,” according to Lucky California Vice President of Operations Bobby McDowell.
The robots operate at pedestrian speed and utilize a combination of cameras, sensors and artificial intelligence to travel on sidewalks and navigate obstacles. The robots are able to cross a wide variety of terrain, able to climb curbs, cross streets and even operate at night.
Robots can function in varying weather conditions, including rain and snow. The zero-emission robots make more than 100,000 road crossings every day and have completed more than 2.5 million commercial deliveries. They have traveled more than 3 million combined miles, leading the pack in autonomous delivery providers.
McDowell was sure to explain that the robots would not replace team members, but expand on the services already available.
“The contactless robot delivery service is an extension to our team members at Lucky California, not a replacement,” McDowell said. “This delivery service is simply an added convenience for our guests to choose from.”
Fresno may receive its own fleet of delivery robots in the future, but as of right now, there is no set date for the possible roll out of the service.
“We are very pleased to bring the benefits of automated delivery to Pleasanton, in partnership with Lucky California,” said Ryan Tuohy, senior vice president of sales and business development at Starship Technologies.
Tuohy went on to add that since starting the service in Modesto in 2020, the team is happy to see the positive reaction to the robots from 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 said.