Online food delivery robots may be coming to a late-night study session near you. Grubhub is partnering with Russian robot maker Yandex to provide small, autonomous vehicles that will deliver online food orders. Colleges are the venue of choice since they are a smaller, more controlled traffic environment compared to cities and suburbs.
On-demand food delivery has risen due to higher labor and fuel costs. Robots are electric and do not take coffee breaks, so should prove more cost-effective. Grubhub plans to serve a wide range of colleges starting this fall.
The following excerpt from a Wall St. Journal article reports more on the topic:
Delivery company Grubhub plans to roll out food-delivering robots across U.S. college campuses from this fall, as automation grows in a sector turbocharged by the pandemic. Grubhub will deploy the suitcase-size rovers built by Russian tech company Yandex to some of the 250 colleges across the U.S. that Grubhub already operates in, the companies said Tuesday.
The six-wheeled autonomous rovers have been tested in recent years on the snowy streets of Moscow, delivering food, groceries and documents. Since April, the robots have also been delivering orders from local restaurants in Ann Arbor, Mich., as part of a trial.
The pandemic has boosted the food-delivery business, sparking interest from some companies to automate parts of their operations. The use of robots and drones is aimed at cutting labor costs, one of the biggest hurdles on the path to making delivery profitable. Earlier this year, DoorDash acquired robotics startup Chowbotics, whose technology can whip up salads and poke bowls. In recent years, companies have started to test robotic deliveries in trials and smaller rollouts.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Director, Merchant Services at Mercator Advisory Group