Takeaway food delivery service Just Eat is going to start using robots to deliver meals to customers through a new trial.
The trial, due to commence in the next few months, will see robots built by Starship Technologies cruising along the streets of London with Just Eat deliveries inside them.
The self-driving robots — created by Skype cofounders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis — can only make deliveries to consumers that are relatively close by to the restaurant.
Cameras, sensors, and other technology help the robots, which have been described as ground drones, to navigate their way along city streets, but they’re still monitored by human operators in control centres who can take over at any time. They can “walk” at 4mph, cross the road, and avoid obstacles, according to MailOnline.
When the six-wheeled robot arrives, the customer will need to enter a code that’s been sent to them by Just Eat in order to open the lid the robot’s lid.
Just Eat CEO David Buttress said: “As soon as we met the Starship team, we found their passion for their product infectious. With scalable innovation at the core of their business, they are the perfect partner for us at Just Eat. We can’t wait to bring the delivery robots to local high streets very soon.”
Just Eat, which has 14.2 million active users and 64,000 restaurants on its platform, touted the robots’ safety record, saying they have clocked up close to 5,000 miles and met over 400,000 people without any incidents.
The restaurants taking part in the trial will be announced in due course.
Starship Technologies announced in November that it was planning to test its robots in the UK over the next six months.
“Our robots are a totally new class of devices that will provide a combination of low cost and convenience with less congested streets and zero emissions,” said CEO Heinla in November.
“The robot has been in development for almost two years, and we’ve experienced unprecedented levels of interest and goodwill — so it’s great to now be taking the first step to rolling our little robot out for real. The robot has been very well-received by pedestrians in all of the interactions we’ve seen so far, so it’s very exciting to be officially introducing the robot to the British public.”