The delivery company, Postmates, is ready to move beyond the bicycle, the motorcycle and the car to enter the world of autonomous robots.
On Thursday, the company launched its own robot that, he hopes, will be able to navigate sidewalks and streets to carry food, packaging and other items more small in urban areas.
The robot named Serve is a first for the company. , and has already been tested in cities to deliver thousands of packages with the fleet of prototypes. Postmates is working with Toronto-based design firm Jam3, and plans to deploy for the first time in Los Angeles before expanding to other US cities over the next year.
The robot itself is adorable. On the side, it looks like a little cart, or maybe more like a portable cooler on wheels. It is yellow, white and black and on the front, large circular eyes reminiscent of Wall E.
"We realized that we are in a unique position to create an autonomous delivery vehicle to navigation socially conscious. understands how to navigate the cities while meeting the specific needs of customers, "said Bastian Lehmann, co-founder and CEO of Postmates, in a statement. "With Serve, we have taken a design-based approach that works alongside people and integrates into our communities."
The first version of Serve is able to support around 50 books and browse 30 miles on a single charge, using the technology of partners such as Velodyne Lidar for the detection of its environment as well as an Nvidia processor. Customers will be able to interact with a touch screen and cameras, while light in the eyes and on the top will help humans know which direction to take.
Family members refused to be interviewed, leaving a number. unresolved issues, such as how the company plans to deal with unforeseen obstacles or delays. There is also the question of security, as how will the company prevent anyone from stealing parcels or even tampering with food?
According to Postmates, the brand has spent several years analyzing millions of deliveries to better understand the routes and interactions with customers. And although crawlers on sidewalks are more efficient, the initial deployment does not seem large enough to completely replace the human fleet that delivers millions of packages per month.
Postmates is not the first company to enter the sector. self-deliverable market. Pizza Hut is already working with Toyota on autonomous vehicles, while Ford is working with Walmart and Domino's to test its own fleet. Last year at CES, a start-up called Robomart even unveiled its self-contained miniature grocery store.