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Digital Trends reports that "Serve Robotics is planning to expand its tie-up with Uber Eats to deploy 2,000 of its diminutive delivery robots in locations across the U.S. and Canada from later this year or early next … The partnership currently involves a small-scale delivery service in a small part of Los Angeles that started last year, with more than 200 restaurants now using the wheel-based bot to deliver meals to hungry customers between the hours of 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.

"It’s not yet clear which locations will host the new meal-delivery robots, though San Jose, Dallas, and Vancouver are reportedly prime candidates."

According to the story, "Serve’s waist-high robots, which resemble in many ways those operated by Starship Technologies and Ottonomy, tootle along the sidewalk on four wheels and can work for pretty much a whole day on a single charge of its incorporated battery.

"The autonomous, sensor-laden vehicle has a top speed of 7 mph (about 11 kph) and contains a small meal-carrying compartment that’s unlocked by the customer when it arrives at its destination."

The story goes on:

"In another mark of Uber’s continuing interest in autonomous technology, the company recently revealed that Waymo’s robotaxis will soon be bookable via Uber’s own ridesharing app. The service will start later this year in parts of Phoenix, Arizona, where Waymo already offers robotaxi rides for paying passengers through its Waymo One app.

"Uber has also partnered with Motional to deliver food in Santa Monica, California, using a self-driving version of Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 SUV."

KC's View:

Two thousand robots?  "Tootling" along America's streets and sidewalks?


Interesting, by the way, that this service has been tested - apparently successfully - in Los Angeles, a city where, as the LA Times noted in another story, many consumers have been struggling to stretch their food dollars.  

Talk about a bifurcated consumer.

I wonder how long it will take for these robots to sort of fade into the landscape, not remarkable, but just part of the traffic patterns and routines of our lives.

Probably not as long as any of us might predict.