Tech

Move over drivers, robots can deliver in snow, rain and heat

SAN FRANCISCONeither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloomy night may be part of the unofficial slogan postmen live by, but in college towns across the country, small, six-wheeled delivery machines take on whatever Mother Nature throws at them.

Starship Technologies has hundreds of machines coast to coast delivering groceries and other items through an ordering app.

“As a result, we work from 7 a.m. to midnight in many of our environments. Late night dining is all the rage and trending on college campuses. We can ride in any weather – rain, shine or snow,” said Chris Neider, Director of Business Development at Starship Technologies.

The battery-powered robots use sidewalks and other pedestrian-friendly routes to deliver their orders, mostly without operator intervention, but routes can occasionally be disrupted.

A fallen tree from a storm or even a scooter that hasn’t been returned to its proper home can cause problems, forcing the robot to call home and get help.

“First it will try to manoeuvre. It’ll try to figure out if there’s a path around the object,” Neider said.

Mario Guerrero, director of Lucky California Supermarket, loads grocery bags into the body of a Starship Technologies robot before the robot departs for deliveries to Pleasanton, California.
Mario Guerrero, director of Lucky California Supermarket, loads grocery bags into the body of a Starship Technologies robot before the robot departs for deliveries to Pleasanton, California.
EPA

The company said it was rare for an operator to need to be called on, but one was available and close by if help was needed.

Neider warned that the robots have limitations and, like all delivery services, cannot handle large snowfalls or other significant events.

Starship Technologies has hundreds of machines coast to coast delivering groceries and other items through an ordering app.
Starship Technologies has hundreds of machines coast to coast delivering groceries and other items through an ordering app.
spaceship

“The robot doesn’t have a plow, so there are limitations. If there is a flood and roads are closed and the service area is under extreme conditions, like any food service, we will send the robots home and suspend the service,” Neider said.

Neider said a good rule of thumb is if universities are operating normally, so are the robots.

A Starship Technologies robot takes to a sidewalk to deliver groceries from Lucky California Supermarket in Pleasanton, California.
A Starship Technologies robot takes to a sidewalk to deliver groceries from Lucky California Supermarket in Pleasanton, California.
EPA

When schools close due to blizzard hurricanesor any other significant event, the company will do everything possible to limit the risk to its operators and machines.

“There are many conditions where we turn off and pause the service because we need to take care of our team and make sure they’re safe,” Neider said.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/17/move-over-drivers-robots-can-deliver-in-snow-rain-and-heat/ Move over drivers, robots can deliver in snow, rain and heat

JACLYN DIAZ

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