Estonia unwraps basket-shaped robots for deliveries

Published: Saturday, October 14, 2017

TALLINN: Skype’s birthplace, the tiny former Soviet Union state in the Baltic, Estonia, shut off from the world for decades until the collapse of the communist era in 1991, once again became the envy of the world when it introduced this year its latest innovation—Starship—the high-tech delivery robot shaped in a shopping basket.

Developed by Starship Technologies, the revolutionary delivery robots began maneuvering their way around the sidewalks of Estonia’s capital Tallinn, early this year, delivering groceries, take outs, and whatever fits their weight limit and tiny body.

The invention, which will spare companies of paying labor costs for deliveries, is also slowly being introduced in Britain and other parts of Europe. Companies see them as extremely beneficial, especially during winter, when deliveries could be dangerous for humans. They also save time and manpower requirement.

Work on the robot began as early as 2014 but the six-wheeled “shopping baskets” were only unwrapped this year.

With just a population of 1.3 million, Estonia’s domestic market is so small but it has set its sight to the outside world with billions of potential consumers.

From being isolated, Estonia had made tremendous leaps in advancements in technology that it became the first country in the world to enable online voting. Its government has also fully embraced digitalization with kids as young as seven taught how to write computer codes in hopes of creating a smarter future.