Little-known Estonian company Starship is attempting to take on Amazon by launching a delivery robot that could make Amazon’s delivery drone obsolete if you live close to a warehouse or shop that stocks exactly what you need.

The delivery vehicle is a remote-controlled box on wheels that can make semiautonomous deliveries within short distances and it’s suitable for anything from groceries, to takeaways and any other goods you may want delivered to your door.

It runs autonomously 99 per cent of the time, the makers said, and uses sensors, GPS, and cameras to navigate its way around towns and cities.

The device runs at 4mph and can carry 9kg of cargo – equal to its own weight. Starship is hoping to create an app consumers can use to order their items and track deliveries, with shipments made within 30 minutes of ordering. Because it takes away the need for drivers and other staff, it can cut delivery costs significantly. In fact, Starship said costs to run are 10 to 15 times lower than traditional local deliveries.

“Our goal is to totally disrupt how we do our shopping and deliver packages,” said Allan Martinson, Starship’s chief operating officer. “The average American family spends about one hour per day driving to shop and back. It’s time-consuming. It’s inefficient. It’s one hour we’d like to give back.”

It’s been tested in the US, as well as its native Estonia and is set to have trials around Europe too, including in the UK. It’s also undergoing tests at the McMillon Family Retail Innovation and Technology Lab at the University of Arkansas to see how people feel about having their items delivered via a semiautonomous vehicle.

“It’s not a self-driving car. It’s a semiautonomous vehicle,” Helen Kaarlep, head of testing and operations at Starship said.

“If you want to build a completely self-driving vehicle that means you would have to spend years and billions of dollars. But if you can outsource some of the decision-making to humans who can make split-second decisions based on everything, then you can go to market and make sure it’s safe and secure faster,” she explained.