The DoorDash trial will take place in Redwood City, and Postmates customers can expect robots at the door in Washington, D.C.'s city limits. The six-wheeled robots have a payload of 20 pounds and, at a top speed of four miles per hour, are restricted to sidewalks.
When the robot arrives, customers will be sent a secure link that unlocks the robot's hatch. For transit, cameras, GPS, built-in alarms, and a two-way radio secure the delivery of your shrimp pad Thai.
The robot uses nine cameras and GPS to construct a 360-degree, 3D map of its surroundings. It navigates a pre-mapped out grid, however the technology is still too untested to handle fully autonomous deliveries. Starship Technologies' minders will be on hand to remotely pilot the bots if anything goes wrong.
Autonomous ground delivery has the same disruptive potential as aerial drones, which companies such as 7-Eleven are testing for last-mile delivery. E-commerce shippers routinely face obstacles and high costs delivering goods to remote, or hard-to-navigate deliveries. Just as importantly, last-mile deliveries are expensive, however Starship Technologies aims to reduce the cost of delivery to $1 or less.
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