Yes, you've read this right. Another meals on wheels has found it's ground in the Dogpatch for those who no working limbs to be delivered to. That was satire, unfortunately this isn't.
As reported by Tech Crunch, Yelp's Eat24 has entered the drone delivery game with their own set of technology that creeps along in the Dogpatch/Potrero area. As Consumerist tells us, it's a partnership between Eat24 and robotics startup Marble which Eat24’s Head of Delivery Operations, Shalin Sheth, calls an "experiment."
The Marble robots, which are a bit larger format than the squatter Dispatch robots we first spotted in February, also being tested in SF, and these employ the same LiDAR technology that's used by self-driving cars to constantly scan the environment around them. Also, they join Postmates' Carry robots, which were first spotted on our streets and sidewalks in February.
Matt Delaney, CEO and cofounder of Marble, tells TechCrunch at the robots are designed to be "courteous in an urban setting," and he says, "We’re starting with meals, but think our robots will be useful for everything from groceries, to pharmacy and parcel delivery in the long run."
Long story short: if you see them on the street, don't kick them over.
// Though this isn't the first time we've seen tech stroll through our neighborhoods, get to know Dispatch and their attempt at droning below.
**Originally posted on Feb. 27th
Like learning to walk, these delivery bots are gaining their street legs.
Dispatch, the company letting their little ones go, is a startup with some $2 million in seed funding that has tested its delivery bot on two college campuses. The robot, called Carry, is about three feet tall and is meant to make multiple deliveries per walking-speed trip. The recipient unlocks the robot’s compartment with an app.
They just started field testing in the Mission which is a test to accomplish before rolling out city-wide.
There are several companies trying to figure out the “last mile” of getting products to customers in an era where going into a store is apparently passé. Last year a company called Starship tested something similar out in the Richmond. The challenge is efficiency and timeliness – as one investor noted to Forbes, despite all the fuss about flying drone delivery, keeping delivery robots grounded is significantly cheaper.
Though, don't plan to see these puppies on the market anytime soon — with the city attorney breathing down the back of self-automated ANYTHING, it will be a while before you can get your meals on wheels. Figuratively.
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