Uber Eats is launching not just one but two autonomous delivery pilots today in Los Angeles, TechCrunch has reported. The first is via an autonomous vehicle partnership with Motional, originally announced in December, and the second is with sidewalk delivery firm Serve Robotics, a company that spun out of Uber itself. The trials will be limited, with deliveries from just a few merchants including the Kreation juicery and organic cafe. Serve will do short delivery routes in West Hollywood, while Motional will take care of longer deliveries in Santa Monica. "We'll be able to learn from both of those pilots what customers actually want, what merchants actually want and what makes sense for delivery," an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch.
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DoorDash has made it pretty clear that if you're hungry, it's going to be the company that makes sure you get what you want. Over the last year or so it's rolled out group ordering, grocery delivery and even ice cream delivery -- all with sustainability on the agenda. Now, it's making sure you get fed as soon as is absolutely possible, thanks to a partnership with General Motors' Cruise self-driving vehicles. Early this year, a testing program will kick off in San Francisco testing and improving the efficiency of food and grocery delivery via Cruise vehicles. It's the first major consumer-facing partnership for Cruise, which had in the past toyed with the idea of teaming up with Lyft, and subsequently Uber -- evidently it identified a more lucrative market in satisfying hangry customers than in teaming up with companies already under scrutiny for their autonomous efforts.
Your next Starbucks latte might be delivered by an adorable roving robot. Postmates, the food and grocery delivery company, has debuted its new autonomous delivery robot, named'Serve.' The four-wheeled rover closely resembles a brightly colored cooler, except it has huge, saucer-shaped eyes and an array of cameras meant to help it navigate the streets. Your next latte might be delivered by an adorable roving robot. Postmates, the food and grocery delivery company, has debuted its new autonomous delivery robot, named'Serve' Postmates is a food and grocery delivery service that brings items to your doorstep.
Starship Technologies, a delivery robot startup founded in 2015 by two Skype co-founders, is launching its autonomous delivery service at corporate and academic campuses in Europe and the US. For the last three months, Starship's six-wheeled robots have been delivering food and office supplies around software company Intuit's 4.3-acre campus in Mountain View, California. Ahti Heinla, Starship CEO, CTO and co-founder, tells The Robot Report that Starship expects to scale this service to "hundreds of campuses" and about 1,000 robots by the end of 2018. There are 10 delivery robots that Compass pays for by the month. Heinla said Intuit's employees don't pay extra when they order food or supplies via the Starship app.
At least, that's the concept that Kevin Peterson is trying to achieve with his robotics company, Marble. It recently made news for deploying food delivery robots onto the streets of San Francisco. Peterson, Marble's co-founder and software lead, joined this week's AI Podcast to talk about their efforts to integrate AI into the delivery process. Marble's robots, all named "Happy," look like a white boxcar about the size of a mobility scooter. They're complete with a trunk, where it stores packages.
Rules governing the use of food delivery robots remain to be seen across the US. But major food businesses are investigating the possibilities already. In the latest deal, Yelp Eat24 has begun testing delivery by robot in partnership with Marble in select San Francisco neighborhoods. TechCrunch spied Marble's delivery robots, stickered with a Yelp Eat24 logo, earlier this month. But the companies announced their robot delivery service officially today.
It's not every day that you are wandering around your neighborhood and get a glimpse of the future. Yet there I was minding my own business when I bumped into what appeared to be a Yelp/Eat24 "delivery robot" cruising around San Francisco's Mission District on a Friday afternoon. A @Yelp / @Eat24 delivery robot is doing a photo shoot in the mission pic.twitter.com/z4Dd2UJxh9 To be clear, the robot didn't appear to be "working," as it was flanked by two photographers intent on capturing its movements as it slowly crossed Valencia Street. This was more of a photo shoot than it was a delivery operation.
Autonomous delivery bots have hit the streets in Washington, D.C., and Redwood City, California, the first two U.S. cities to give the thumbs up to a test run by robotics startup Starship Technologies. According to Recode, the robots started making food deliveries on behalf of Postmates and DoorDash beginning Wednesday. The robots cruise the sidewalk at 4 mph and navigate using nine cameras, GPS, and artificial intelligence software. They are designed to constantly relay information about their route to the entire fleet, allowing them to travel more efficiently over time. According to the company, the bots can traverse curbs and small rocks, and they're smart enough to avoid people and animals.