If a person dropping food off on your doorstep is still one human too many in these COVID-19 times, then maybe you should try moving to Tempe, AZ where Starship’s autonomous robots have started making restaurant deliveries.
Starship’s li’l rovers are squat, six-wheeled, cooler-sized robots that can scurry around town making deliveries. In a time when people are being asked to shelter in place, autonomous robots can help reduce human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus by, well, not being human.
According to a press release sent to The Spoon, Starship now has more than 30 autonomous, on-demand robots delivering daily between 10:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Meals are available from three different Tempe restaurants: Fate Brewing Company, Tempe City Tacos and Venezia’s Pizza. For those in Tempe, the delivery area is bordered by S. Mill Ave. to the east, S. Rural Road to the west, Route 60 to the south and Southern Ave. to the north.
Starship had been focusing its go-to market in the US on colleges, where it has been steadily rolling out on different campuses over the past year. But with the global pandemic forcing schools to send students home and the rising need for contactless delivery, Starship’s shift towards deliveries for the general public makes sense.
Tempe is the third location in the US where Starship has been making non-college deliveries. The company has already begun delivering different restaurants in Washington DC and Irvine, CA. According to a Starship spokesperson, future delivery cities include the City of Fairfax in DC and Moutain View, CA (which will also be testing Nuro’s driverless delivery pods!).
In addition to requiring one less human putting themselves at risk to bring you a burrito, autonomous robots can also run continuously without needing a break, and can be easily cleaned in between trips.
Starship’s robots aren’t the only ones pitching in during these dire times. The Postmates Serve robot has been making deliveries in Los Angeles. On a much larger scale, the CEO of driverless van startup, Udelv, has publicly offered his company’s autonomous delivery services to help make deliveries in quarantined areas.
If you’re in the designated area in Tempe and use Starship’s robot delivery, take a picture and let us know how it went!