In a word, this new deal is all about robots. Piestro makes a robot-powered pizza making vending machine , and Kiwibot makes little rover-style food delivery robots. As Piestros come to market, they will feature an integrated mechanism that allows Kiwibots to pluck those pizzas from the machine and cart them directly to your door.
The program isn’t live yet, and there isn’t a specific timetable for when it will happen. Piestro just successfully closed one equity crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $1 million, and is launching a new one with the hopes of raising $5 million more.
But when Piestros do come to market, those living in a Piestro/Kiwibot market will be able to order a pizza from the comfort of your couch through an app, and the Kiwibot will retrieve it and bring it to you. The exact process/app through which you order depends on if the Piestro is one owned and operated by the company, or if it is one that’s branded and licensed by a third-party.
Given the global pandemic, the desire for contactless food delivery is accelerating technologies that power both robotic vending machines and robot delivery services. Not only can robots work around the clock, they also remove a vector of human-to-human transmission. The Piestro/Kiwibot deal takes this concept even further by having a robot interact with the machine so there is no human in the transaction.
The ability to get items from vending machines was a feature that Kiwibot added last year, though being able to hold a boxed 12-inch pizza requires more space than picking up a Snickers bar. I spoke with Massimo de Marco, Piestro CEO by phone this week, who explained that Piestro is working with Kiwibot on a new version of its robot that can carry pizzas.
As noted, there wasn’t any indication of when or where Piestros will be hitting the streets. And even though Piestro and Kiwibot are the first to announce such a daisy chain of robot delivery, you can bet that similar deals will soon follow.