Autonomous food delivery robots
At Berkeley, autonomous robots deliver meals to students. Kiwi is a start-up based at the University of California that operates a fleet of about twenty small four-wheeled robots to collect orders from restaurants and deliver them to students. A driver deposits the bots at a designated stop serving multiple restaurants and the Kiwibots go to the restaurants, pick up the orders which are placed inside the bot and then return to the stop. The driver then drops them at the campus stop and the bot drives the final leg, a distance of up to 300 meters, and delivers the order to the customer. The start-up is now using machine learning to teach its delivery robots how to cross the road safely, without any human intervention. Making the robots more autonomous is vital if Kiwi wants to deliver meals outside the campus, in a more "hostile" environment.
According to its founder, Felipe Chávez, Kiwi is a win-win collaboration between humans and robots since the idea is not to replace delivery workers. Robots are here to take care of the last meters, the ones that can't be pooled. This cooperation saves time and thereby money. This allows Kiwi to propose delivery fees much cheaper than its competitors while offering a decent wage to its employees, who are paid per hour rather than per delivery.
Spotted in 2018
- United States