Just Eat has today laid claim to delivering the first takeaway meal by autonomous robot. The online ordering company has been working with Starship Technologies since July, testing the latter’s “last-mile” delivery robots in Greenwich, London. But these tamperproof, pavement-pounding boxes on wheels are now in active service in the area, after the first, apparently unknowing customer successfully received their falafel and lamb cutlets from a local Turkish eatery. While customers are not be able to actively choose robot as their preferred delivery option yet, Just Eat says Greenwich “will increasingly be serviced by the technology,” ahead of plans to expand the rollout (no pun intended) to more parts of London next year.
We’re not sure Just Eat can really claim a world first here, though. Domino’s in New Zealand began delivering pizzas by autonomous drone last month, and similar programs have been run elsewhere, even if they’ve only been trials, pilots, pure PR stunts and what have you. Domino’s is working on a ground-based autonomous delivery bot of its own, however, so Starship Technologies has at least beat it to the punch there.
The company, created by two Skype co-founders, is building robots to ferry goods from local sorting centres, shops and restaurants to their final destinations without human intervention. A “last-mile” autonomous solution, in other words. The six-wheelers, which abide by pavement etiquette using GPS and various sensors, are being tested by several companies in several cities. Able to carry up to around 9kg, the electric bots are said to be significantly more efficient and cost-effective than current last-mile options. They really are taking our jobs…
Published at Thu, 01 Dec 2016 18:20:00 +0000