We’ve been covering the acceleration of robots being rolled out for contactless food deliveries in different cities across the country. As these li’l rover ‘bots become more public, the public is catching their first glimpse of, and shooting video of, our food delivery future.
Starship recently started making restaurant and grocery deliveries in Chevy Chase, VA. That’s where Jake Tapper, host of CNN’s State of the Union caught not one but two Starship robots scurrying about in the rain and posted a video of them to Twitter.
Tapper wrote “I assume for food delivery? Still a bit @blackmirror,” which struck us as a bit odd. Black Mirror is the sci-fi anthology TV series that shows the dark side of our reliance/addiction to technology. But Tapper seems to be ignoring the fact that we are already living in the darkest timeline where human-to-human contact is fraught with anxiety and potentially danger, and technology like autonomous robots can actually be useful and could save lives.
As a reminder for Mr. Tapper, robots don’t get sick, won’t inadvertently cough on your broccoli and can help get food to people who may not be able to otherwise leave home. Not everything about robots is perfect, obviously. Robot companies like Starship are charging restaurants big commissions that might be unsustainable, and there are always are big, societal questions about automation and the cost of human jobs. But right now, we should absolutely be experimenting with more self-driving deliveries.
Over the West Coast, friend of The Spoon, Mike R., saw the Postmates Serve robot cruising down a Los Angeles city street. With its lit up eyes and bright color, the cheery robot certainly seemed to fit in with sunny California vibe. An “On Delivery” message displayed on its screen to let passers by know it was on a job as it quietly rolled on its own down the sidewalk (followed, appropriately enough, by someone on a scooter wearing a facemask).
For those living in the middle of the country, fret not. Self-driving delivery robots won’t be relegated to the coasts. Up in Ann Arbor, MI, Refraction’s REV-1 is making lunch and grocery deliveries. And Starship is eyeing Frisco, TX among the next cities to get its robot delivery service.
If you see robots running around your town, please shoot a picture or a video and share it with us!