Published On: Thu, Mar 30th, 2017

A Friendly Neighborhood Robot Might Soon Deliver Your Takeout

The newest deliveryman in Redwood City, California, and Washington, D.C., is not a person, but a 6-wheeled robot, the company said in a press release. Starship is partnering with food delivery services DoorDash and Postmates for the pilot programs, it is first in the US.

The robots, made by London-based Starship Technologies, are small, 6-wheeled gizmos that cruise along city sidewalks, rolling at about speed a pedestrian would walk (no more than 4 mph). DoorDash will roll out fewer than a dozen in Redwood City to start, intending to use them for the small deliveries traveling short distances (good news for robot lovers who are too lazy to walk down the street to pick up their to-go order). They just come up to a person’s knee, have space to store 3 grocery bags of the food, and weigh about 50pound when fully loaded.

six-wheeled robot

six-wheeled robot

Starship already has a number of delivery partners in Europe such as Just Eat, Hermes Parcel Delivery, Swiss Post, Media Markt and Wolt. Starship use the pilot programs to gauge delivery times and customer response to fast food on demand courtesy of a robot. The bots gained legal approval to travel on sidewalks and crosswalks in Redwood City and Washington last year, and Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Customers placing orders during daylight may receive an order from robots, which autonomously navigate sidewalks. This robots hold deliveries in their hulls, that flip open with the push of a button. For now, Starship Technologies, that makes the robots, will have an employee walking behind the robot to keep it out of trouble and answer any questions from curious pedestrians.

Postmates, which makes 1.5 million deliveries a month, said it’ll expand the use of robots if the results are good.

This robots are self-driving and are equipped with nine cameras to sense dangers and obstacles, but during this testing stage, will be accompanied by a human handler who can take control if necessary.