Robotics

Autonomous droid makes first fast-food delivery

Autonomous droid makes first f...
The Just Eat customer who received the robot-delivered order was sent  a unique link for accessing the cargo hold on her phone
The Just Eat customer who received the robot-delivered order was sent  a unique link for accessing the cargo hold on her phone
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The Just Eat customer who received the robot-delivered order was sent  a unique link for accessing the cargo hold on her phone
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The Just Eat customer who received the robot-delivered order was sent  a unique link for accessing the cargo hold on her phone
Just Eat sent a text message to the customer to inform her that her meal was on its way and sent another when the robot had arrived
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Just Eat sent a text message to the customer to inform her that her meal was on its way and sent another when the robot had arrived
Just Eat and Starship Technologies has been testing the delivery robots for five months in Greenwich
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Just Eat and Starship Technologies has been testing the delivery robots for five months in Greenwich
Starship Technologies' electric-powered, six-wheel robots are designed for delivering packages, groceries and food to consumers in a 2-3-mi (3-5-km) radius of base
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Starship Technologies' electric-powered, six-wheel robots are designed for delivering packages, groceries and food to consumers in a 2-3-mi (3-5-km) radius of base
Starship Technologies' robots can travel at up to 10 mph (16 km/h), but typically move at a "brisk walking speed" of around 4 mph (6 km/h)
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Starship Technologies' robots can travel at up to 10 mph (16 km/h), but typically move at a "brisk walking speed" of around 4 mph (6 km/h)
To navigate, the Starship Technologies robots make use of conventional cameras, a 360-degree camera, infrared and ultrasonic sensors
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To navigate, the Starship Technologies robots make use of conventional cameras, a 360-degree camera, infrared and ultrasonic sensors
The robot collected the food from a local restaurant and delivered it to the customer
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The robot collected the food from a local restaurant and delivered it to the customer

Just Eat claims to have made the world's first ever online food delivery using a self-driving robot. As part of the takeaway food firm's pilot with Starship Technologies, a robot delivery droid was dispatched to autonomously deliver a customer's order in London.

The delivery was made in Greenwich, in the south-east of the city, after five months of testing in the area with the robots. A local resident by the name of Simone is said to have placed the order with a nearby Turkish restaurant via the Just Eat mobile app. One of the robots was sent to the restaurant from the Starship Technologies HQ and the prepared meal put in its secure cargo hold, after which the robot continued to the delivery address.

A text message was sent to Simone to inform her that her meal was on its way. Another message, containing a unique link for accessing the cargo hold, was sent once the robot had arrived. This allowed Simone to access her order before the robot returned to Starship HQ.

"I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened the door to find a robot waiting to greet me, it was like something out of a movie," Simone said. "It is really incredible to think that this kind of technology and service is now available. It was very efficient and actually texted me when it pulled up."

Starship Technologies' electric-powered, six-wheel robots are designed for delivering packages, groceries and food to consumers in a 2-3-mi (3-5-km) radius of base
Starship Technologies' electric-powered, six-wheel robots are designed for delivering packages, groceries and food to consumers in a 2-3-mi (3-5-km) radius of base

The electric-powered, six-wheel robots are designed for delivering packages, groceries and food to consumers in a 2-3-mi (3-5-km) radius of base. They can travel at up to 10 mph (16 km/h), but typically move at a "brisk walking speed" of around 4 mph (6 km/h).

To navigate, the robots make use of conventional cameras, a 360-degree camera, infrared and ultrasonic sensors. At present, they are monitored by human operators who can take control at any time if required.

The delivery was made on November 28 and marks a new phase of the pilot, with Just Eat and Starship Technologies able to begin learning about how to improve the delivery robot's use and gauging the public response to them in a real world setting.

The robot collected the food from a local restaurant and delivered it to the customer
The robot collected the food from a local restaurant and delivered it to the customer

Just Eat customers in Greenwich can't elect to have their food delivered by a robot, but the company plans to increase the number of deliveries it is making with them in the area. It also plans to expand the program across London next year.

Starship has been trialing the robots in the US too, where a first demo delivery, with a predefined order and without proper system integrations, has been from a cafe in Redwood City, California, to a nearby home.

Sources: Just Eat, Starship Technologies

3 comments
Bob Flint
Was this expensive gadget subsidized, or planned on being paid for by the user as a "service fee" Say it's $50,000 to set up, and run amortize over 5 years and that thing would need to deliver 24/7 more than two trips every hour non stop.
Milton
I would bet they spent a lot more than 50K for this first prototype, but I imagine the idea is to make a lot more than 1.
WolfhartWillimczik
I am at home and sick. I would pay any price for such a service.