Postmates is a food and grocery delivery company that announced a robot back in December called Serve, that is capable of carrying 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles. It translates to approximately a dozen deliveries per day. It aims to make deliveries by traveling on the sidewalk and avoiding traffic, using LIDAR sensors and an Nvidia Xavier processor to navigate its way around obstacles. It’s an ambitious project that just got green-lit to move on the next stage of product development, public testing.
Postmates has received permits to put these robots on public sidewalks for additional testing and prototyping. However, the license does come with restrictions. It is only valid for 180 days for up to a total of three robots. Each robot needs to be accompanied by a human operator.
A robot like this could have significant applications in warehouses such as Amazon where items need to transport from one end to another. However, something like this on the street could pose a threat such as people stealing them, destroying them, or even stealing what is being carried by it. Whether the company puts these on streets or not, its still a great innovation that will further advance the robotics research and bring change in transportation.