Tags Posts tagged with "robot"


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technology robot

New Technology: Robot Pizza Delivery?

The pizza company joked about driverless delivery robot technology back in 2015. The food delivery robots are coming! Remember the “Domi-No-Driver” campaign? Domino’s has joined hands with Starship Technologies to begin using its “personal delivery devices” this summer in Hamburg, Germany. If all goes well there, Domino’s and Starship intend to bring robot pizza delivery to the Netherlands as well.

technology robot

Starship’s devices have the look of a self-driving food cart, rather than some science fiction humanoid. They travel on six wheels at an average speed of 4 miles per hour, and can carry just over 40 pounds. In Hamburg, the robots will deliver pizzas within a one-mile radius.

Starship is facing significant competition in the prospering market for “professional service robotics.” Competitors range from fellow startups like Marble to established players like Boston Dynamics. The International Federation for Robotics (IFR) forecasts that between 2016 and 2019, logistics businesses will have begun using at least 175,000 robots to provide their services. That compares to UPS’ global fleet of around 100,000 trucks today.

Launched by Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis in 2014, Starship Technologies also recently inked food delivery partnerships with DoorDash and Postmates in the US. But Domino’s has yet to offer pizza delivery by robot here. Many retailers and restaurants are waiting to see how robot delivery tech shapes up, but also how the rules for using these devices are set in the US market. Virginia, and as of this week Idaho, allow delivery by robot today. Other states and federal US laws are still to be determined..

Domestically, Domino’s has offered other tech-enabled and entertaining ways to buy a pie, including by Tweeting a pizza emoji to @dominos, or requesting delivery from drivers of the Domino’s DXP “ultimate pizza delivery vehicle,” a modified Chevy Spark. In New Zealand, Domino’s has also begun delivery by drones in a partnership with Flirtey.

Indeed, tech has become an international marketing gimmick for Domino’s. But learning what works, and doesn’t, in the next wave of logistics tech could spell serious cost savings, and not just near-term buzz, for any major restaurant chain that delivers. After all, robots may need maintenance, but they don’t call in sick unexpectedly or hop between employers like the people they could displace.

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Piaggio Technology – A Robot That Carries Your Stuff And Follows You

Piaggio, the Italian company that makes Vespa scooters revealed its newest technology creation this week; a personal delivery device or “cargo robot,” called the Gita. The technology and the robot were designed by a new “startup” within the broader Piaggio group of brands, called Piaggio Fast Forward, in Boston. Gita resembles an exercise ball with tires in a meridian position, and multiple cameras embedded within its shell. It can follow a person, or roll autonomously in an environment it has already mapped. At 26 inches tall, the Gita can carry up to 40 pounds at a time and has a maximum speed of 22 miles per hour, so it can keep up with a person on foot or riding a bike. It can run for about 8 hours of continuous use, the company said.


Piaggio Fast Forward’s Chief Creative Officer Greg Lynn stated, “We come from a world of lightweight, scooters, two and three-wheeled cycles, and mini trucks. Everything we do is lightweight and made for highly congested cities, like Bangkok or Hanoi, where traffic is a real issue We wanted to extend people’s movement and encourage them to move more freely and easily, even in congested environments.” Piaggio Fast Forward has taken a different approach to working around traffic on the ground than other startups in this space, such as the delivery drone makers Flirtey and Zipline or Starship Technologies, which makes semi-autonomous personal delivery robots. The Gita has to follow a human around to learn how to navigate around a new environment. Its design permits it to go wherever a person in a wheelchair could go, including grocery stores, ramps, and elevators.

Sasha Hoffman, Piaggio Fast Forward Chief Operating Officer, noted that the follow-mode can alleviate some problems faced by autonomous vehicles. She stated, “A machine can be intelligent, but isn’t as smart as a human today. Driving down the street and deciding to swerve to avoid hitting a bicyclist or a dog on the road, for example, people make ethical decisions all the time that a self driving car can’t make. If a device is following a person then that person has the lead, and powers the most important decisions around the robot’s movement.”

Hoffman also said running Gita units indoors and out with select partners will help the company amongst a database of location information that isn’t available through resources like Google Maps today. It could lead to better navigation tools to help people get around places like campus buildings, airports, and parking lots. These are also locations where the Gita could alleviate workers and visitors from carrying a heavy load, whether that’s suitcases or tools. If the robot isn’t allowed indoors, Piaggio created the Gita with the ability to park outside safely. It has a locking bay that requires a fingerprint scan and a code to open it, as well as to start the robot. “Gita is also covered with cameras, and sensors and always knows where it is. It’d be the dumbest thing in the world to try to steal or break into,” he stated. Piaggio Fast Forward soon plans to run pilot tests with Gita on different college campuses and in towns in the U.S. It envisions the Gita assisting maintenance, gardening and custodial workers, and others who must tote heavy things around to get their jobs done.

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