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ROBOTS ROAM SIDEWALKS TO DELIVER FOOD ORDERS|外送機器人穿梭華府街頭 餐點送到家

Good Morning Taiwan
2017-03-20
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Residents in Washington D.C. are getting used to sharing the sidewalk with a fleet of small robots that deliver food. The six-wheeled robots are no bigger than an ice-cooler, moves at about 6 kilometers per hour, and could drive down delivery costs by 80 to 90 percent in the long run.

San Francisco-based local delivery service Postmates is believed to be one of the first services in the United States to use a fleet of robots to deliver food orders. The cooler-sized machines are now roaming the sidewalks of Washington D.C. waiting for an order to be placed. The robots that move as fast as 4 mph were created to deliver takeout food, groceries and packages. From the restaurant to his front door, Ben Breslerman's sandwich was just delivered entirely by a six-wheeled robot.

==BEN BRESLERMAN Postmates Customer==
Yeah, I mean, all I did was come out and open a robot and grab my food. It was quick, easy, no problem.

==RUSSELL COOK Senior Vice President of Operations, Postmates==
From a customer perspective, they're notified that a delivery will be completed by a robot, and then when the robot gets near to the drop off location, the customer will come down and they'll have a unique code that they can enter in order to open the compartment and retrieve the goods."

Customers go online or use the company's app to order a meal. The robot then heads to the restaurant - using an array of sensors and cameras to navigate the sidewalk. The system creates a digital map to remember trouble spots. It can even read electronic signs at pedestrian crossings. An employee loads the food into a locked compartment and sends it on its way to the customer.

==NICK HANDRICK DC Operations Manager, Starship Technologies==
The way the robots operate, they have nine cameras, so those nine cameras are used first and foremost for obstacle detection. So, if a person steps in front of it, or a car is driving, street signs, stop lights, things like that. So, as the robot drives it's taking that all into account. And it also uses those cameras to map.

The robots are built by Estonia-based Starship Technologies. Postmates' rollout in Washington D.C. is the first fully-operational program. Despite plans to expand, the rollout could be slow.
Starship and its partners are required to negotiate with individual city governments to get permission for the robots to use the sidewalk.

==NICK HANDRICK DC Operations Manager, Starship Technologies==
We operate with what we call 99 percent autonomy. So, the robots are capable of actually driving on sidewalks, on their own. We always do have a human that can oversee and step in if need be for any sort of security or any specific very human-based decisions.

Nick Handrick said they think they have a real potential to have a positive impact in a number of ways. So, long-term, they hope to expand their number of partners, they also hope to be in more cities.

TRANSLATED BY:JESSICA OY