Ride-hailing firm Bolt to soon offer robot-powered food delivery in Tallinn

The robots will be self-driving.
Loukia Papadopoulos
The Bolt autonomous robot.jpg
The Bolt autonomous robot.


Estonian ride-hailing firm Bolt has revealed it will soon begin delivering food to people’s doors using a fleet of autonomous robots. The move hails from a partnership with robotics firm Starship Technologies.

This is according to a press release by the firms published on Wednesday.

The company will first trial its online food deliveries in its home city of Tallinn, Estonia later this year. 

“We are focused on providing well-rounded solutions to help make local transportation as sustainable as possible,” Markus Villig, founder and CEO of Bolt, said in the statement.

“Starship offers a smart and much-loved service that has proven itself over the past five years and we’re excited to introduce this service to more people.”

"At Bolt, we have over 100 million users in 45 countries and 500 cities globally, offering services like ride-hailing, micromobility, and food and grocery delivery," added the press statement.

"By partnering with Starship Technologies, we can now provide a broader range of delivery options that accommodate different order sizes, preferences, and distances."

The new service will function just like ordering food online from apps in the conventional way. The added benefit will be that the new partnership will allow customers to get their desired food delivered from robots at the mere press of a button.

A self-driving robot will head to a client’s front door. Once there, the customer will be able to press a button that opens the robot’s container and allows the client to receive their meals or groceries.

Bolt began as a ride-hailing service but has since expanded into several other lines of business, including online food and grocery delivery and e-scooters.

Meanwhile, Starship, which is based in San Francisco and was co-founded by some of the founders of Skype, already has a fleet of autonomous delivery robots that are operational in the U.S.

Further deals with grocer Co-op allow the firm to operate in the U.K. and other European countries.

Starship made headlines in August of 2019, when it announced its expansion to college campuses around the U.S.

At the time, the startup's robots had already been tested in over 100 cities across 20 different countries, had run 350,000 miles, driven down 4 million streets, and had completed their 100,000th delivery. 

Each robot was electric and could carry up to 20 pounds' worth of goods. Cameras helped them navigate around obstacles, guiding the robots to their final destination. 

They were however restricted to delivery zones of three to four miles, and top speeds of four mph. No word was given on how far the new robots will travel in Tallinn or how fast they will go but the announcement is a step forward for robot-powered deliveries everywhere.

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