While Uber is looking into self-driving cars and Amazon is working on deliveries via drones, Postmates is testing a delivery robot.
This concept isn’t new and has been in the works for a few years now. But after San Francisco partially banned delivery bots to protect pedestrians, Postmates has gotten creative.
The latest delivery bot known as Serve has eyes, turn signals and can even yield. The robot is meant for deliveries in cities and equipped with a cooler to hold food deliveries.
The robot isn’t doing all the work on its own.
“The semi-autonomous rover uses cameras and Lidar to navigate sidewalks, but always has a human pilot remotely monitoring a fleet of Serves who can take control if there’s a problem,” writes “Tech Crunch.” “There’s even a “Help” button, touchscreen and video chat display customers or passers-by can use to summon assistance.”
So how do customers get their deliveries from the bot when it arrives? Customers will be able to unlock its cargo hatch with their phones or a specific passcode.
Postmates is planning to also use these robots strategically. Restaurants in congested areas make It difficult for drivers to get to customers in a timely fashion. But with Serve, Postmates will start using dispatch hubs where the robots will bring deliveries to after coming from areas with heavy traffic, then a driver will take the delivery on the rest of its journey.
Serve can carry 50 pounds for 25 miles on just one single charge. It expected that the bot can make about a dozen deliveries a day.
Not only will this save the company money on labor costs, but Postmates is hoping to make a positive environmental impact.
“Somehow as a society we’re OK with moving a 2-pound burrito with a 2-ton car. All the energy is used to move the car, not the burrito, and there’s all the congestion it introduces” said Ali Kashani, VP of Postmates X special projects to “Tech Crunch.”
Postmates also claims this will ultimately save the customer money too.
“We believe that there will be a world where goods move rapidly at almost zero cost to the consumer,” said a Postmates spokesperson to “Tech Crunch.”
Serve will be making deliveries starting next year. Los Angeles is where the bot will be making its debut.
Previously Postmates developed three other delivery robots known as Marble, Robby, and Starship. Learn more about Postmates bots at “Tech Crunch” now.
Speaking of robots, there’s another company out there changing the way food is being delivered. Zume Pizza has robots that make its pizza, along with a fleet of delivery vehicles equipped with pizza ovens, so the pizzas are ready for fast delivery. Learn more about how the industry is embracing bots and automation in the video below.