Coco 1 remotely piloted delivery robot is headed for the streets of LA
Autonomous aerial delivery drones do potentially risk getting caught in branches, losing their way, or falling onto people's heads. That's where the Coco 1 comes in, as it's a ground-based delivery robot that is entirely remotely controlled.
Looking not unlike a high-tech Radio Flyer li'l red wagon, the Coco 1 was developed via a partnership between Segway and Los Angeles-based robotic delivery company Coco. It actually replaces a smaller, less capable delivery bot that Coco started using in LA last year.
The battery-powered Coco 1 has a delivery radius of 3 miles (5 km), and is designed first and foremost for the ferrying of food from restaurants or grocery stores to customers' homes. After one of those customers places an order online, a worker at the corresponding business places the food items in the robot's insulated locking cargo box. It can reportedly carry up to four full grocery bags.
Wirelessly communicating with a centrally located human operator, the Coco 1 then travels along the sidewalks to the customer's home. While the bot is en route, the operator views the street in real time via multiple onboard cameras, plus they use a mic to listen for sirens before crossing roads. They can also engage in two-way conversations with bystanders or users.
An LED-lit safety flag, headlights and tail lights help the robot to be noticed by pedestrians and drivers. It additionally emits an operating sound, so that it will be detected by the blind.
According to Coco, the robot is guaranteed to reach its destination in 30 minutes or less. Its cargo box then unlocks, allowing the customer to remove their food.
Plans call for the Coco 1 to initially enter use with LA's Erewhon Market grocery store chain. Coco states that over the next several months, thousands of the robots will be delivered to participating businesses in multiple cities.