Wash DC Area Market Using Robots to Deliver Groceries

The Broad Branch Market in Chevy Chase, Maryland has been around for over 100 years. Like most grocery stores, they have had to adjust to the deadly coronavirus epidemic. Along with changing hours and having a 10 customer limit sign out front, they’ve found an innovative way to make sure customers still get their groceries while at the same time practice social distancing.

The store has teamed with Starship Robotics to deploy autonomous delivery robots. Customers simply call in their orders and off the robots go. There is no physical interaction between market employees and customers.

“It’s a big responsibility, we feel like we need to be here,” said Tracy Stannard, owner of Broad Branch Market.

Grocery Delivery Robot Starship Broad Branch Market - YellRobot

Grocery Robots Can Be Tracked with SmartPhone

The cartoonish black and white robots are about two feet tall and can travel at speeds of 4mph. Onboard sensors and GPS allow them to navigate the streets avoiding any obstacles that get in the way. They’ll even automatically stop at crosswalks to wait for traffic to pass.

The robots, who can carry up to 20 pounds, deliver items within a 4-mile radius. Users and customers can track their location via a smartphone app and will receive a notification when the robot arrives.

As far as security goes, goods are well protected as the robot’s cargo bay is locked while in transit. Once the destination is reached, the bay can be opened via the mobile app.

Broad Branch Market Customers Get Free Robot Delivery

The Broad Branch Market has been using four units as part of a beta test. So far the little robots are receiving high praise from customers. As part of the beta testing, there is no additional charge for delivery.

“I’m going to use this all the time, this is awesome,” said a mother of two.

Starship’s robots have been seen on college campuses, office parks, and even golf courses. The company has six offices around the globe and their robots have made over 50,000 deliveries and clocked around 200,000 miles.


Check out our articles on 5 ways AI is fighting the coronavirus and robot dogs on a construction site in Montreal.