With over 3,790 COVID-19 cases, Columbia is doing its best to enforce social distancing. Many restaurants are being hit quite hard with the new regulations. To help cut down on human to human interaction, but make sure food can get to customers, the city of Medellin is experimenting with delivery robots.
South American on-demand delivery startup Rappi has teamed with Japan’s Softbank Robotics and US-based KiwiBot to begin trials of delivery robots during the COVID-19 crisis. The pilot test is being carried out in the El Poblado area of the city. Users are chosen at random and offered the option of accepting a delivery from the autonomous bots. All orders are paid for online.
Rappi Delivery Robots are Disinfected Before and After Use
The four-wheel robots, which are disinfected before and after each use, complete the last mile of the deliveries. Onboard sensors and integrated HD cameras help them navigate and avoid any objects or people that may get in the way. The robot can adapt to different sidewalks and adjust its path in real-time.
“We believe that by partnering with technology we will be able to continue meeting our aim of safely making people’s lives easier, especially in situations like the one we find ourselves in, “ said Rappi’s Colombia regional manager Matias Laks.
Medellin Robots Average 150 Deliveries Per Day
Rappi has 15 robots working in the area completing an average of 150 orders per day. The company plans to operate the pilot program until July with plans to expand to more cities in the region.
“To imagine deliveries via robots seemed like a distant thing just a few years ago,” said Matías Laks “And now to make it a reality in our country files us with great pride.”
Rappi, which has around 200,000 distributors across nine Latin American countries, reported a year-on-year 30% rise in deliveries during the first two months of 2020 – before the lockdown began.