Food delivery was born in 1889 in Naples, Italy when King Umberto and Queen Margherita requested Raffaele Esposito to deliver a pizza to their palace.
In the following years, many restaurants started utilizing food delivery as a method of improving their services. Nowadays, having almost anything delivered to your doorstep is the norm.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic is still an issue, so restaurants are facing a challenge regarding safe food delivery. This is where autonomous food delivery robots come into play.
What Is a Food Delivery Robot?
The autonomous robots from Starship company are programmed to pick up any food and deliver it to your door. To start your order, you’ll have to use the Starship app and order from one of the restaurants in your area. Then, the restaurant will fill the robot up and send it your way.
Starship robots can handle rain, snow, curbs, and crosswalks. They go about four miles per hour, and you can track them on your app. Starship is not the only robot on the market, as Domino’s is testing out its self-driving car. In addition, many other companies are considering robots for package delivery.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of autonomous food delivery.
1. Robots Are Faster
While standard delivery vehicles can get stuck in traffic, robots can easily navigate through any area. They’re equipped with 360-degree cameras that allow them to see and safely overcome many obstacles to deliver food while it’s still warm.
2. Autonomous Food Delivery Is Affordable
Aside from paying for the food, you have to tip the person who brought it to your door. With delivery robots, you only need to pay a $10 monthly app subscription, making it the cheapest delivery in the US.
3. Food Is Safer
Once the robot is packed with food, its food compartments are locked, so nobody can touch what’s inside. When the robot reaches the location, the restaurant sends a link that the recipient clicks and unlocks the food. It also has an alarm that activates if someone tries to steal the food.
4. You Can Track Robots
Since you use the mobile app to order food, you’ll have access to the robot’s tracking device. You’ll know where your delivery robot is at any time and how fast the food will reach you. This also helps companies keep their robots secured. Even if they get stolen, the company will easily find them.
5. They Can Talk With Humans
Besides being equipped with cameras, delivery robots also have microphones that help them communicate with restaurant workers, pedestrians, or customers. This improves customer experience and food delivery service.
6. They Are Not a Threat to Road Safety
Since food delivery robots move at about four miles per hour, they can hardly run over people. In addition, since they have cameras, they can scan the surroundings, safely cross the road, and avoid collisions.
7. Robots Reduce the Pollution
With more companies exploring the option of food delivery via robots, the chances are that there will be fewer delivery vehicles on the road. This can positively affect the level of pollution in cities and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
8. Minimized Exposure to COVID-19
One of the reasons robots became part of the food delivery industry was to reduce human contact while the number of coronavirus-infected people was rising. The contactless delivery minimizes exposure to the virus while keeping the restaurants in business and customers happy.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
Like with any new technology, chances are people will see some downsides of autonomous food delivery. For example, these robots can’t be used if a person doesn’t own a smartphone. Without a smartphone, you can’t order or unlock the food once it arrives.
Since these robots are small, they can’t hold much food in their compartments. If you need food for an event, you’d still have to reach out to standard caterers.
Another essential thing to consider is the fact that robots shouldn’t be used to replace human contact. People tend to get attached, which can result in the loss of human touch and increased empathy towards robots. In the long term, this can negatively affect human relationships.
Finally, ethical and legal issues arise about the robot’s rights. For example, it’s still unclear whether robots should have the same rights as pedestrians and whether they can cause injuries on busy streets.
The food delivery process has come a long way since the first pizza was delivered. Even though there are some drawbacks and more research and testing are necessary, robots prove to be an excellent tool for food delivery.
They easily navigate the streets, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide more affordable services than the standard food delivery option. The chances are that these robots are here to stay and will only get better over time.