Six years ago, I sat in the Google self-driving project's Firefly vehicle -- which I described, at the time, as a "little gumdrop on wheels" -- and let it ferry me around a closed course in Mountain View, California. Little did I know that two of the people behind Firefly's ability to see and perceive the world around it and react to that information would soon leave to start and steer an autonomous vehicle company of their very own. Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu aren't the only Google self-driving project employees to launch an AV startup, but they might be the most underrated. Their company, Nuro, is valued at $5 billion and has high-profile partnerships with leaders in retail, logistics and food including FedEx, Domino's and Walmart. And, they seem to have navigated the regulatory obstacle course with success -- at least so far.
With the world's population on track to exceed nine billion by 2050, it's crunch time for a solution to sustainable food production. However, undermining efforts to feed the planet at every step are our attitudes to waste. Around a third of the total food produced in the world currently gets thrown away, with citizens of rich countries by far the worst offenders. For businesses in the food industry, fluctuating customer demand and inadequate access to data make it difficult to get quantities right. Innovating the supply chain is a clear solution to improving waste and delivering the kind of food services that consumers want.
Walmart is trying out self-driving shipments. Walmart is testing new ways to deliver your milk, eggs and bread using self-driving vehicles. The world's largest retailer said Tuesday it has teamed up with Nuro, a Mountain View, California-based autonomous vehicle startup, to pilot grocery deliveries in Houston. Nuro, founded in 2016, has already raised $1 billion in funding, according to Crunchbase. It has previously partnered with Domino's for pizza deliveries and Kroger for grocery deliveries.
Rolnick, David, Donti, Priya L., Kaack, Lynn H., Kochanski, Kelly, Lacoste, Alexandre, Sankaran, Kris, Ross, Andrew Slavin, Milojevic-Dupont, Nikola, Jaques, Natasha, Waldman-Brown, Anna, Luccioni, Alexandra, Maharaj, Tegan, Sherwin, Evan D., Mukkavilli, S. Karthik, Kording, Konrad P., Gomes, Carla, Ng, Andrew Y., Hassabis, Demis, Platt, John C., Creutzig, Felix, Chayes, Jennifer, Bengio, Yoshua
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity, and we, as machine learning experts, may wonder how we can help. Here we describe how machine learning can be a powerful tool in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping society adapt to a changing climate. From smart grids to disaster management, we identify high impact problems where existing gaps can be filled by machine learning, in collaboration with other fields. Our recommendations encompass exciting research questions as well as promising business opportunities. We call on the machine learning community to join the global effort against climate change.
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.