Robots are the talk of the town after an initiative to use them for deliveries in some parts of Sale and Timperley started.

The robots, or Personal Delivery Devices (PDDs), are the idea of Starship Technologies, a firm founded by Skype co-developers Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis.

In 2022, Starship Technologies approached Trafford Council for approval of an initiative to use the PDDs for deliveries in some parts of Sale and Timperley.

On Wednesday, the PDDs were let loose on the town with a launch at the Co-Op convenience store on Coppice Avenue.

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Andrew Curtis, operations manager at Starship Technologies, said the intention is to take the initiative across Greater Manchester if successful, as it is in cities and towns such as Bedford, Cambridge, Leeds and Northampton.

Mr Curtis said: "We are pleased to offer the benefits of autonomous delivery to thousands of residents in Greater Manchester from today and to continue our expansion in the North of England. The robots provide ease and convenience for people, while also making a positive contribution to reducing congestion and carbon emissions. 

"We are confident the service will be well received and look forward to a long-standing relationship with Trafford Council to roll the service out further in the months ahead."

Starship Technologies works with the Co-Op, of which there are two in the area west of the A56 affected by the scheme – one on Coppice Avenue and one on Washway Road.

The two supermarkets are allowed to use the robots for deliveries to more than 10,000 households as far north as Ashton on Mersey and as far south as Altrincham Retail Park.

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Stephen Adshead, Trafford Council’s executive member for environmental services, said: "We are excited to be working with the Co-Op and Starship Technologies to launch this new initiative in the Sale area. The robots are a lot of fun and it will be great to see them taking to the streets of the borough. 

"But there is a more serious message here. Trafford Council is totally committed to helping the environment and reducing our carbon emissions and the electric robots could well contribute towards those aims. So, instead of driving to the Co-Ops involved in the scheme, why not leave the car at home and have your groceries delivered by a friendly robot?”

Residents arrange their deliveries on an app, which also allows them to track and unlock the robots. The robots travel on pavements and use sensors to avoid obstacles, although there is a control centre for all significant issues.

For information, search Starship Technologies on social media or go to

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.