Minister’s Satisfaction at plan to make delivery robots play Rolling Stones

Songs played by home delivery robots should be selected by the public via a national competition, according to a transport minister.

Jesse Norman suggested the Rolling Stones as his entry and used his speech in a parliamentary debate to drop in references to a number of their songs.

Conservative MP Iain Stewart, who chairs the Commons Transport Committee, spoke of the “enormous potential” of the machines and cited experiences of their use in Milton Keynes.

Mr Stewart, the MP for Milton Keynes South, said: “Members may not be aware that when these Starship robots arrive they play a little tune and you can select which one you like.

“Currently the range goes from Happy Birthday to Baby Shark. Perhaps a minister could launch a competition to find the most appropriate delivery tune that the robots could play when they arrive?

“He’s already privately given me a couple of suggestions but my challenge to him is to come up with the defining standard to celebrate these wonderful machines.”

Mr Norman hailed the suggestion of a national competition to choose suitable tunes as a brilliant idea and suggested: “I hope the Transport Committee will organise.”

He added: “I think we can go one step further. I’d like to suggest that the Rolling Stones be nominated as the band for the autonomous local transport sector because they, brilliantly, in their work cover both of the strengths and the drawbacks of this technology.

“If successful, this technology is one that could make us Happy, it can use these marvellous vehicles as a Beast of Burden, it allows them to operate any time and therefore they can be Midnight Ramblers.

“Tragically, of course, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, sometimes you’re Waiting on a Friend, and indeed it may be you can’t hear these little machines knocking (a reference to Can’t You Hear Me Knocking).

“Above all, we want to avoid being turned by them into (a) Street Fighting Man, let alone suffering a 19th Nervous Breakdown.”

Their exchanges came in Westminster Hall during a debate on the societal impacts of autonomous last-mile delivery.