If you happen to be in the Sacramento area, you may soon see a cartoonish looking robot going up and down the sidewalks. Don’t worry, it’s not some escapee from Area 51, it’s just here to bring you food.
The Kiwibot will be soon making food deliveries as part of a test program. The 4 wheel robots are about the size of a cooler and can go up to 3 mph. They autonomously travel the sidewalks and safely cross the street while heading to their destination. And to make sure your order is kept at the perfect temperature, the bot has an insulated storage area. A locking lid will make sure nothing happens to your food while in transit.
Onboard sensors and six fully integrated cameras help the delivery robot navigate the streets and avoid anything that may get in the way. It runs on a swappable battery which can last about 5 hours on a single charge. The Kiwibots can also be monitored and controlled remotely if need be.
Food Delivery Robots Arrive in Under 35 Minutes
As far as ordering goes, the process is simple. A customer places an order with a partnering restaurant via the Kiwibot app. When the food is ready, the robot is loaded and sent on its way. Once it arrives, the customer uses their smartphone to open the lid and receive their order. The Kiwibot’s progress can be tracked via the app and most orders are delivered within 35 minutes.
Testing will start in the Sacramento area in September with plans for about 50 robots to be available. No official word yet on what restaurants will be taking part. Along with the novelty factor, the company claims the autonomous robots help restaurants improve efficiency and cut down on delivery costs.
“They love us. It’s a cheaper service, our fees are always lower,” said Kiwibot developer David Rodriguez.
KiwiBot Born at Berkeley, Based in Columbia
The Kiwibot company, originally created at UC Berkeley, is based in the South American country of Columbia. Testing has mostly been around college campuses in the Northern California area with over 150 robots and 35,000 successful deliveries. Along with Sacramento, there are plans to expand the testing to San Jose, Stanford, and UC Davis.
“By mid-next year we will expect to have full-size operations doing hundreds of deliveries a day,” Rodriguez said.