Starship Technologies, the autonomous robot delivery company, has appointed former Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips to its board.

Starship Technologies autonomous delivery robots

The appointment came as retailers increasingly seek to automate operations amid driver shortages, and offer the most competitive and efficient last-mile fulfilment options to customers.

Philips, who ran Morrisons for five years until 2015, also brings experience from retailers including Walmart, Loblaw and Brown Thomas to Starship, which has worked with retailers including the Co-op.

Philips, who is now chief executive of Irish airports operator DAA, said: “Cracking the last mile – as in exceeding customer expectations at a cost that is economically accretive for the retailer – has been the ultimate goal of all digitally connected businesses for the last decade. 

“Starship Technologies has developed both the hardware and software which will allow global retailers to now realise this ambition, and it’s a huge honour to join this incredibly exciting board where I hope to bring my own retail experience to support what is arguably the finest team in this space anywhere in the world.”

Starship co-founder and chief technology officer Ahti Heinla said: “Dalton brings an enormous amount of retail experience and nous to Starship. He understands the customer, and critically he understands the challenges needed to succeed in the last-mile delivery space.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have him join our board and leverage his vast experience as we continue in our quest to make Starship the global leader in last-mile delivery.”

Starship operates in a variety of countries and said that its “zero-emission robots have made more than 1.6 million autonomous deliveries, travelled millions of miles and make more than 80,000 road crossings every day.”

Its robots deliver groceries and other packages locally “in minutes”. They are self-driving, “but monitored by humans who can take control at any time”.

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