Yelp Eat24 and the friendly neighbourhood robot who delivers your food

YelpEat24 powered food delivery robot tested in San Fran

YelpEat24 powered food delivery robot

Yelp Eat24 has started testing robot deliveries in a deal with urban courier robot specialist Marble in some San Francisco neighbourhoods.

Marble is one of several companies specialising in the moving delivery boxes that are likely to be a familiar feature on the streets of towns and cities globally in the years ahead.

The company said it’s starting with takeout meals but also sees major potential in delivering items like groceries or pharmacy goods.

Its units use on-board liar (light detection and ranging, which is like seeing with echoes), plus cameras, ultrasonic sensors, other computer features and 3D maps of pavements and buildings. They also communicate with Marble HQ.

In the current trial, customer order their food as usual and are asked if they are happy to have a robot deliver it.  If they are, a PIN code will be sent to their phone so that they can unlock the robot’s cargo area on arrival. Once they’ve done this and have their food, the robot will either return to Marble’s HQ or move o to another restaurant to pick up its next order.

While a robot may not be able to move as quickly as a courier on a motorbike, the food is kept hot using Yelp Eat24 heat bags with no need, for now, to go any further as the robots will typically deliver food within a mile of the restaurant.

But Marble said future iterations will allow sections of the robot to be swapped out offering temperature controls that turns the robots into mobile fridges or ovens.

So will these robots become the norm any time soon? Unlikely. For now, like other such trials globally, each one has a human companion to monitor its progress and also reassure unsuspecting members of the public about what’s going on. But ask the same question in a few years’ time and who knows…


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