Yelp’s Eat 24 food delivery service has become the latest food truck to deliver tasty delights to customers, with trials of the automated food delivery service taking over San Francisco.
Powered by Marble’s delivery robots, Yelp Eat24 is asking its customers whether they’re happy to have their food delivered by robots and then sends out one of the adapted autonomous vehicles with the food stored in the back to obliging customers.
When the robot arrives at the customer’s front door, they must input a code which Yelp Eat24 has sent by text, which then unlocks the robot’s backside where their food is stored.
“People running restaurants are going to want to know, should I start using technologies like this as they come online? We need to have answers for them,” Head of Delivery Operations for Yelp Eat25, Shalin Sheth said. “We need to figure out what works.”
Each of the robots is equipped with lidar, cameras and ultrasonic sensors to, which are all used to detect any obstructions and hopefully, avoid them. They’re powered by Nvidia’s Jetson TX1 AI supercomputers to process their surroundings, ensuring they can successfully make the delivery without any hiccups.
Usefully, they can operate at any time of the day or night, which is particularly important as the majority of food deliveries happen at night. Future plans include integrating refrigeration modules, or even ovens, to keep food hotter or colder all the way to the customer. At the moment, the company uses Yelp Eat24’s heat bags that seal in some of the warmth so food arrives at a decent temperature.
“We’re starting with meals, but think our robots will be useful for everything from groceries, to pharmacy and parcel delivery in the long run,” Marble’s CEO and cofounder Matt Delaney said.