Is That A Robot At Your Door?

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Is That A Robot At Your Door?

03/16/2017

A couple weeks ago consumers and businesses in Redwood City, Calif., and Washington, D.C., started to get food delivered right to their doors — via robot, according to Recode.net. 

Starship Technologies put its autonomous ground-delivery robots to work, delivering food with Postmates in Washington, D.C., and DoorDash in Redwood City, Calif. Its robots already make deliveries in more than 40 cities in Europe. 

These robots look a little different than the TV robots you remember from the days of the Jetsons. They have six-wheels, are little under two feet tall, weigh about 40 pounds empty and travel four miles per hour. To start --and to avoid the fear factor no doubt-- these robots are actually accompanied by a human handler to make sure all goes according to plan. 

Here’s how it works: each robot goes to a restaurant to get loaded up, delivers to the customer’s address, and then goes to the next restaurant to do it all over again. Postmates lets customers opt out if robotic delivery isn’t for you. DoorDash doesn’t give an option. The robots make around 10 deliveries a day. 

One reason to take note of Starship, versus the others doing similar robot deliveries, is where the money is coming from. One of Starship's primary investors is Mercedes-Benz’s Daimler AG parent.  Another is Shasta Ventures, the venture capital folks behind Nest and Doctor on Demand. 

Rumors persist about Amazon’s click-and-pickup concept that has robots on the second floor picking orders. It’s time that traditional grocers understand it’s a new world and the robots are here. 

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