Softbank-backed delivery startup Rappi is testing out robots for contactless delivery — take a look

Photo from Fredy Builes/VIEWpress via Getty Images)Rappi Kiwibot.
  • Colombian delivery app Rappi is testing pilot robot deliveries in Colombia.
  • Rappi operates in several Latin American countries, and last year SoftBank invested one billion dollars into the startup.
  • Deliveries are made using Kiwibot, a delivery robot from a Colombian owned company in California.
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Colombian delivery app Rappi is yet another company turning to robots to reduce reliance on human workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to Colombia, Rappi operates in Mexico, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil. Last spring, SoftBank invested $US1 billion – one-fifth of its Innovation Fund for Latin America – in the startup. It was founded in 2015, and other investors include Sequoia Capital, Andreesen Horowitz, and Y Combinator.

Colombia is currently under a lockdown set to end in May, though it may be extended again. Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported on the lack of coronavirus testing throughout Latin America, making it difficult to assess how widespread the virus is in the region.

Like in other countries, the Colombian delivery app is using robots to complete orders at a time when people are at risk of catching the virus from interacting with others. So far, the robots are part of a pilot in Medellin, with potential to expand.

Here’s what it looks like.


Rappi is using robots for deliveries in Medellin, the capital of Colombia.

Photo from Fredy Builes/VIEWpress via Getty Images)Rappi Kiwibot.

Typically, Rappi works similarly to GrubHub or DoorDash, with delivery drivers picking up orders and bringing them to customers’ doors.

ReutersRappi delivery.

As the coronavirus spread between people, options for contactless delivery became more popular.

Photo from Fredy Builes/VIEWpress via Getty Images)Rappi Kiwibot.

Deliveries in the pilot program use Kiwibot robots, from a California company with a Medellin office.

Photo from Fredy Builes/VIEWpress via Getty Images)Rappi Kiwibot.

The four-wheeled delivery robots have orange flags to call attention from walkers, drivers, and bikers.

Photo from Fredy Builes/VIEWpress via Getty Images)Rappi Kiwibot.

Customers stuck at home because of the coronavirus can order and pay for meals digitally, and then last mile delivery is completed by the robots.

Photo from Fredy Builes/VIEWpress via Getty Images)Rappi Kiwibot.

Robots can carry deliveries up to five square inches in size, and are disinfected between orders.

Photo from Fredy Builes/VIEWpress via Getty Images)Rappi Kiwibot.

Source: The Star


Kiwibots have a stereo camera system to sense its surroundings as it moves.

Photo from Fredy Builes/VIEWpress via Getty Images)Rappi Kiwibot.

The sensor system allows it to react to lights and obstacles.

Photo from Fredy Builes/VIEWpress via Getty Images)Rappi Kiwibot.

Kiwibots are equipped with corner recognition, which allows them to create safe paths on footpaths.

Photo from Fredy Builes/VIEWpress via Getty Images)Rappi Kiwibot.

Kiwibot emphasised its robots ability to “seamlessly mesh into the fabric of urban landscapes,” with technology like street crossing mode.

Photo from Fredy Builes/VIEWpress via Getty Images)Rappi Kiwibot.

Source: Kiwibot


Rappi says it completes about 120 deliveries each day with the 15 robots in the pilot area.

Source: The Star


It plans to run the program until July, and then potentially expand to other cities.

Photo from Fredy Builes/VIEWpress via Getty Images)Rappi Kiwibot.

Kiwibots have previously been used for deliveries at colleges including UC Berkeley, and Kiwibot says it has made more than 30,000 deliveries since it started in 2017.

Source: The New York Times

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