By: Nick Gambino
Starship robots have been making their way around other countries delivering orders directly to doorsteps but now we’ll start seeing them here in the U.S.
Postmates and DoorDash have struck a deal to bring these little autonomous robots over here to test the workability of the system.
Postmates will see their test play out in Washington, DC, while DoorDash will deploy the little guys in Redwood City across the country in California.
Starship Technologies has designed their robots to be autonomous, in other words they drive themselves and don’t require much human oversight. If you needed a human to operate it then what would be the point?
Now these things travel at a speed of about 4 MPH and can carry about 40 pounds of cargo. So don’t expect any large deliveries traveling over a long distance. Their functions will probably be limited to local food deliveries, probably within a few block radius.
Stanley Tang, co-founder of DoorDash, doesn’t plan on doing away with the human element in deliveries, “We have people who use cars, bikes, scooters, motorcycles or walk to make a delivery. And each has a different strength and suitability for different deliveries. Robots will be another type of vehicle in our system.”
For Postmates intention Senior VP Holger Luedorf had this to say, “We don’t have a grand vision that robots would be the ultimate delivery mechanism or something. It’s far too early to say. We do want to gather a lot of data.”
So as of now the move to the U.S. is merely a pilot to see what works and what doesn’t. We’ll see if it catches on and if the robot delivery model takes off.
From the looks of it with the size and speed of the robot, I think it’s more of a novelty without broad application.
What are your thoughts on autonomous robot delivery? Would you want to open your door to find a tiny robot on wheels? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.