From the looks of it, Postmates’ Serve robot is ready to roll into action, almost exactly a year after the delivery service unveiled it.
First, Serve made an appearance on The Ellen Show last week in a staged bit about delivering chips and guacamole. And almost immediately after that, Chris Reilly posted an Instagram video of Serve out in the wild making a delivery in “#Hollywood” by the “#CNNBuilding.”
It’s not exactly thrilling footage, but it does show that Serve is real and making rounds around La La Land.
In addition to being cute and cool, Serve’s apparent public debut party, as it were, is a bright spot for what has otherwise been a bummer of back half of 2019 for Postmates. The company delayed its IPO following the WeWork debacle and a general souring on third-party delivery services that have yet to prove their profitability. Then last week, Postmates shut down its Mexico City office and laid off dozens of employees across multiple offices in the U.S.
But Postmates continues to ride the robot delivery wave. Serve is just one of the delivery rover robots that have rolled into the market this year. Starship is being used by a number of colleges now, Refraction AI is proving its hardiness by making deliveries in snow covered streets, and Kiwi just announced a reinvention of its own robot that will make the device more rugged and give it the ability to retrieve items from vending machines.
Los Angeles is an interesting test case for Postmates’ delivery robots. It’s very spread out, which typically works against rover bots with their slow speed and smaller delivery range. However, Los Angeles has nice weather year round and is pretty flat (making it easier for the robot to get around), plus it has a ton of celebrities who order via Postmates.
Postmates seems to be focusing Serve’s, errr, service in California right now. The company announced it August that it was given a permit for sidewalk robotics operations from the City of San Francisco.