The world is changing so fast. What used to be a vague idea about the future is becoming a reality today – food delivery robots!
Food delivery has made giant strides in the past few years – new technologies that allow consumers to track orders in real time. The infamous pandemic pushed companies to put on their thinking caps. It also encouraged ideas around contactless delivery geared toward minimizing contact between customers and drivers.
Using robots to deliver food is going to be the norm in a few years time rather than the exception.
What Are Food Delivery Robots?
Instead of a human delivery driver picking up food and delivering it, the robots are programmed to do the same activity. They are devised in such a way that they can handle rain, snow, curbs, and crosswalks.
Their maximum speed is usually about four miles per hour, and you can track them on your app. In some cases, the robot can also travel along hallways and elevators within a building.
What Is The Need For Automating Food Delivery?
The foremost need is the consumers’ desires for faster delivery. The second important need is due to the growing number of deliveries which has skyrocketed because of the pandemic. Labor shortage was anyway arising even before COVID began.
The fear of contracting the virus contributed to an increasing demand for contactless delivery services. Food delivery robots quell these fears and emerge as the right choice for all future delivery scenarios.
Problems of Food Delivery Using Humans
Food delivery apps like Postmates, UberEats, Dorodash etc require human delivery drivers workforce, who are mostly 1099 gig workers. They have to wait in in cars waiting for orders, have to drive from their homes to deliver food that may be quite far away.
They have to sit idle between deliveries and double-park outside restaurants while they wait for the food to be delivered. Delivery drivers add to the traffic problems, using more gas and adding to the pollution,
Overall the process is inefficient for drivers, clients and the environment.
Benefits of Using Food Delivery Robots
1. Robots Are Faster
A standard delivery may be delayed due to numerous factors like traffic, heaby rain etc. A robot has the ability to manoever and navigate through any area. This is possible because they are equipped with a 360-degree camera that allow them to see and safely overcome any obstacles to deliver food while it’s still warm.
Most consumers haven’t yet experienced having food delivered by a robot or a driverless cars but the idea seems to be enticing and increasingly piquing their interest.
Four in 10 consumers said they would use robotic delivery if it was available: 2019 report from The National Restaurant Assocation and Technomic. These figures would be far greater with demand for delivery shooting up during the pandemic.
Six in 10 adults say they’re more likely to get their food delivered, than they were before the pandemic: State of the Restaurant Industry report.
About half (53%) of those surveyed said ordering takeout or delivery of food is critical to the way they live.
9% of all restaurant orders are now for delivery. This is a 154% increase year-over-year from 2020, according to the NPD Group.
Companies Using Food Delivery Robots
Starship Technologies, has more than 1,000 robots in its fleet, an increase from just 250 in 2019 and that speaks volumes of the way business is growing for them. It has plans to deploy several hundreds more. Thwy have delivered food to 20 U.S. college campuses and 25 more will be added soon. They’re also operating on sidewalks in Milton Keynes, England; Modesto and California.
The Starship has its own deliveries app through which customers can order food and drink to be delivered from a wide choices of local eateries and grocery shops. Once ordered, the robot’s entire journey and location can be monitored via smartphone. The robots can carry items within a 4-mile radius.
GrubHub’s Food Delivery Robots
Grubhub and with Russian robot maker Yandex recently parnered up to deploy 50 robots on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus. Grubhub is currently focussing only on college campuses and plans to add more campuses soon.
Domino And Nuro
Nuro, a California startup whose 6-foot-tall self-driving pods go at a maximum speed of 25 mph is operating on the streets and not on the sidewalks. Domino’s is partnering with Nuro for carrying out its deliveries.
Nuro is testing grocery and food delivery in Houston, Phoenix and Mountain View, California.