These delivery robots braved the British snow to deliver hot takeaway grub
Storm Emma and the great Beast from the East brought havoc to the streets of Britain last week and the delivery firm Just Eat had a novel way to help get hot takeaway meals safely into the mouths of hungry customers: Snowbots.
While competitor Deliveroo came under fire for incentivising orders in the hazardous conditions, adding a £1 surcharge to reward drivers braving the snow, Just Eat took a different approach: employing a fleet of delivery robots to deliver hot takeaway meals to customers in Milton Keynes.
The bots, which can hold up to 10kg worth of food (presumably for more than one person), are aided by ultrasonic sensors, nine cameras, a radar and a GPS to help them cross roads and navigate streets successfully. They move on six wheels and can switch to four if needed, something that was obviously very useful during the blizzard-like conditions.
The whole process of getting food from the restaurant to the door of the customer is actually pretty nifty.
When the takeaway restaurant gets an order from Just Eat, it can opt for a robot delivery pickup. While the food is being prepared, the delivery robot will begin making its journey from the nearest depot to the restaurant, ready to pick up the food. Then a staff member places the food safely into the robot cargo hold, before it goes on its merry way again.
Human operators are monitoring the bot in case anything goes wrong, as the bot makes its journey to the customer’s house. If something happens, they can step in and take control.
When it arrives at the customer’s door, the customer will receive a text with a code in it. The cargo hold will open when the code is entered, stopping any pesky food thieves from forcing the cargo open and taking the grub.
The delivery robots, which are made by Starship Technologies, were first deployed around London and Milton Keynes in 2016, with Just Eat reporting that they completed their 1,000th robot delivery last Christmas.
While delivery robots like Just Eat’s meals-on-wheels are predicted to take eleven million jobs by 2036, if they’re going to keep human drivers safe from treacherous snowy conditions, then I’m all for them. At least, it’s better than Deliveroo’s incentivised method.