Don’t be surprised if you pass by a robot on its way to making a delivery.
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“It looks like a shopping cart with eyes and a personality,” started Ali Kashani, CEO of Serve Robotics, a West Hollywood startup with investments from Uber and 7-Eleven.
“We make self-driving delivery robots that will bring you food and supplies,” explained Kashani.
The company recently reached a new milestone for its bots: Level 4 autonomy.
“They need to have enough smarts… enough intelligence to deal with any issue that could come up without relying on people to oversee them remotely,” said Kashani.
In 2021, the company made over 10,000 deliveries in the Hollywood area using robots, but their movements were constantly being supervised.
Now, Serve robots will be delivering Uber Eats orders mostly on their own.
“It can deliver food, it can deliver groceries, it can deliver medication, basically anything that’s not too bulky will fit in the robot,” explained Kashani.
The robots can still call for human help, if necessary, like during pickup and drop-off, when they encounter an intersection or when something unexpected happens.
Otherwise, their movements are up to them.
“It wants to kind of give rights to people who are passing by and kind of be out of their way… so if it see someone coming it would slow down kind of go to the side make sure they have room to go,” explained Kashani.
Serve says most of the delivery demand is in areas robots can handle. Their goal is to take over a small percentage of human deliveries over the next few years, bringing down both costs and the environmental impact of cars.