Four-Wheeled Food Delivery Robots Are Cruising the Streets of San Francisco

Forget UberEATS — your next meal could be delivered by a robot.

Whether robots will inherit the earth is yet to be seen, although science fiction keeps telling us they will. Until that becomes a reality, they're going to keep pitching in to help make our lives scarier easier. Take food deliveries, for example. Here we were, just getting used to UberEATS helping us eat from a wider arrange of restaurants without leaving home — aka ferrying meals from places without their own delivery service — and now machines are taking over. Welcome to the future.

Yelp and robotics company Marble have joined forces to start delivering food orders on the streets of San Francisco, with a small number of four-wheeled bots transporting meals in the city's Mission and Potrero Hill neighbourhoods. The robots "use advanced sensors and high-resolution 3D city maps to efficiently and politely navigate busy urban environments", in case you were wondering. Yep, they'll bring you your food and they'll be nice about it.

If you saw Marble's machines in person, you'd definitely notice. Built from the base of an electric wheelchair, and featuring swappable cargo bays to ensure that goods of various sizes can be stored and moved in the most efficient manner possible, they measure just over four metres in height and travel at a pace of three to four miles per hour. For the current trial, they'll venture short distances of around one mile over a six to eight-hour shift, accompanied by living, breathing people to make sure everything runs smoothly. Good to see that humanity still has a use.

As for those doing the ordering, they'll simply sit back and wait — and, after receiving a text message with a customised code, unlock the bot when it gets to their door. Expect more robotic food delivery to follow. It was just last year that Dominos unveiled an autonomous vehicle built for the sole purpose of delivering pizza. And, shortly afterwards, the company completed the world's first-ever pizza deliver drone.

Via CNet. Images: Marble.

Published on April 15, 2017 by Sarah Ward

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