Global Accessibility Awareness Day: Embedding Accessibility in Tech | by Ed Lovelock | Starship Technologies


As the world’s leading autonomous robot delivery provider, one of our core missions is to make life easier and more convenient for people.

We passionately believe in the power of technology and innovation to make a positive impact on people’s lives and communities — but we also know that too often, accessibility and the needs of disabled people can be overlooked when tech is being developed.

We’re leading the way in a brand new industry, so we acknowledge we may not get everything right on the first attempt. But at Starship, accessibility — and genuine two way engagement about accessibility needs — is embedded in what we do, and we’re dedicated to building on top of each of our learnings along the way.

Over a number of years we’ve invested time and resource into improving our technology with accessibility in mind, for example building autonomous recognition of mobility devices and wheelchairs into robot behaviour.

We understand why it’s important that our robots can be heard as they travel along the pavements and that our grocery compartment is at a height the majority of wheelchair users can reach (and that items are bagged for ease of handling). We worked with a leading sight loss charity to make sure guide dogs and our robots can happily share a path. And we’ve built feedback from disabled customers, residents and charities into our engineering and design processes so that with every trip and every conversation we get better at what we do.

But there’s more to do.

That’s why today, on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we are proudly launching the Starship Accessibility Advisory Panel.

We’re delighted to welcome representatives from the Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB), the University of Leeds and health and welfare charity Leonard Cheshire to our panel to help bring essential lived and professional experience to conversations across the organisation.

This is the start not the end point, and we’re keen to make sure we have experience, representation and perspectives from different backgrounds and from people with different disabilities and abilities. Based on the current panel membership, we’d be especially keen to hear more directly from people in our operating areas who use a mobility device or wheelchair and/or are neurodiverse. Please get in touch with publicaffairs@starship.co



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