Technology

Food-delivery robots being tested

Robots could reduce reliance on delivery drivers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Food delivery of the future has arrived.
 

Robots could eliminate the need for delivery drivers (and tipping) one day.

The four-wheeled robot will soon be the latest way to get food delivered to your doorstep. It's called the "Kiwibot," a self-propelled autonomous vehicle with six onboard navigation cameras to avoid hitting objects. It travels on sidewalks but only at approximately three miles an hour to match the average speed of people.

Using an app, customers can order their favorite food online and have it arrive about 35 minutes later.

The Kiwibot is equipped with an insulated storage area to accommodate both hot and cold items and a locked lid to keep any passersby from messing with it. Developers say it will help restaurants eliminate the high cost of delivery drivers.

"They love us. It's a cheaper service, our fees are always lower," said Kiwibot developer David Rodriguez.

They're hoping to start testing the Kiwibot in September and plan to eventually have up to 50 robots on the streets.

It's a part of the city's effort to transform Sacramento into an urban technology lab, one byte at a time.

"By mid-next year we will expect to have full-size operations doing hundreds of deliveries a day," Rodriguez said.

The robots are already operating in Berkeley, California and they're expanding to San Jose, Stanford and UC Davis this fall.


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