Yandex’s rovers are squat, cooler-sized robots that can autonomously traverse pre-mapped areas. As yet, there aren’t a ton of public details on the partnership, such as where the the robot delivery will launch or how much it will cost, but in the press announcement, Yandex said it would be deploying “dozens” of its robots for the program.
College campuses are actually a pretty great environment for last-mile delivery robots. Campuses hold large populations that eat at all hours of the day and night. They are contained geographic with ample pedestrian walkways, and they can be difficult for full-sized delivery cars and drivers to navigate. Robots and their contactless delivery can also be of use in these post-pandemic times for students packed in college dorms. Should someone living on campus get sick, they don’t need to leave their room and stand in line with other people in the cafeteria. Instead, they can ring up a robot and have food delivered, reducing their human-to-human contact.
As such, colleges are among the first places to deploy delivery robots. Starship operates at a growing number of colleges throughout the U.S., and Kiwibot is ramping up its own college food delivery programs as well. Grubhub has existing partnerships with more than 250 college campuses across the U.S., integrating student meal plans with delivery from on- and off- campus restaurants.
In addition to giving Grubhub a robotic entrée onto college campuses, this partnership also gives Yandex its first foray into the U.S. market. Yandex has been making meal deliveries around the Russian cities of Moscow and Innopolis since December of last year.