On a recent trip to the University of Tennessee (UT) we learned that robots were delivering food on campus, so we placed an order for Chinese food from the restaurant Panda Express. The robot arrived with our food about 25 minutes after we ordered. When we opened the lid of the robot, it played the song I had chosen (Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles). After retrieving the food and closing the lid, the robot said, “Thank you, go Vols” (the UT team is the “Volunteers”) and drove away.
These self-driving food delivery robots are the creation of the company Starship Technologies. The robots use a combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and sensors to cross streets and avoid pedestrians and other obstacles. They can deliver the food during rain, snow, or heat. The company has placed its robots in several university campuses in the U.S. and throughout the world.
Is this the future of food delivery? And what is next? Mail, packages, drones? The future is creeping closer and closer to the present!