Starship Technologies, a robot delivery company, is working with the British Horse Society (BHS) to create a highway code for its devices to promote safety around horses.

The world’s leading provider of autonomous delivery services has today (23 February) announced it’s working with the equine charity to ensure safe interactions between delivery robots and horses across the UK.

The organisations are working to establish the standards of correct robot behaviour around horses. This includes stopping and waiting for a rider to pass before a robot continues on its journey.

Starship is now collecting insights from riders who have interacted with their robots via the BHS ‘Horse i’ app. These encounters, both positive and negative, are then collated along with other data to help develop “safe robot behaviour”. Starship is also offering familiarisation sessions to riders and their horses based in Cambourne, to better acquaint horses with their robots.

‘Help our robots happily coexist’

Starship’s autonomous delivery robots have completed more than four million commercial deliveries. In the UK, the robots can be spotted across Cambridge, Cambourne, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Bedford and Leeds, with the launch of more locations expected in the coming months.

“Working with the BHS will help our robots to happily coexist with any horses they encounter,” said Lindsay Roberts, Director of Autonomous Driving at Starship. “Our robots learn with every journey, and the insights we gather will allow us to establish positive robot behaviour around horses – not only in the UK, but also in the US and other locations around the world where we operate. Working seamlessly in the communities we serve is a top priority at Starship, so we invite riders in our Cambourne service area to get in touch with us to book a familiarisation session with a robot.”

Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at the BHS, said he was pleased to be working closely with Starship Technologies to ensure the roll-out of all delivery robots is done with equine safety in mind.

“Our priority is the safety of both horse and rider, and we welcome this opportunity to educate robot behaviour so that they act suitably around horses,” he said. “Whether positive or negative, we encourage all equestrians to report any robot-related encounters using the Horse i app. The more incidents that are reported, the more the BHS can do to improve horse riders’ safety around delivery robots.”

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