Skip to main content

You make this possible. Support our independent, nonprofit newsroom today.

Give Now

A delivery robot creates a poetic moment in the woods of England

caption: A wandering delivery robot found its way into the woods of Northampton in the United Kingdom.
Enlarge Icon
A wandering delivery robot found its way into the woods of Northampton in the United Kingdom.

It's not every day you cross paths with a wandering robot in the woods.

Matthew McCormack wasn't hallucinating when he came across a delivery robot in the woods of Northampton in the United Kingdom.

"I spotted the robot while cycling in Lings Wood," he told NPR over email. "We have them all over town for grocery deliveries, but I was surprised to see it so far from the shops, so I took a picture of it."

Ordinarily, McCormack is a history professor at the University of Northampton, in England. Since sharing that picture on Twitter, he has been enjoying some minor social media celebrity.

He did take a bit of poetic license by tweeting, "On my bike ride this morning, saw a delivery robot lost in the woods."

McCormack said, "It doubtless knew where it was going and got there eventually, but it did seem curious trundling along in woodland."

His tweet, which he posted on May 15, has received more than 250,000 likes and well over 17,000 retweets. The company that makes these robots, Starship Technologies, has also been in touch with McCormack since his tweet.

Apparently they "absolutely love" his message.

But why has this image tickled people so much?

McCormack believes it's because this little woodland robot buddy is reminiscent of beloved robot characters such as R2-D2 and WALL-E, he said.

"I think the image is resonating with people because it is funny but also wistful," he said. "We often project personalities onto tech, and these little grocery robots are very cute."

McCormack reports that people have told him they've come across this wandering traveler out in the woods.

Apparently this particular robot favors the wilderness to life in Northampton. [Copyright 2022 NPR]

Why you can trust KUOW