July 25, 2017

Robots are now delivering food in San Francisco

Starship Robot
By Allan martinson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Residents in San Francisco now have a new option when ordering falafel or a kabab: Robot delivery.

Marble is a 20 person start-up in San Francisco that is building and deploying a handful of robots in a partnership with Yelp . Customers place an order using Yelp’s Eat24 app, which then allows them to opt-in for robot delivery right to their doorstep.

Diners receive a text message with a code, permitting them to unlock the robot’s cargo bin and enjoy meals from one of four participating restaurants. If successful, these robots could one day replace human couriers for range of products.

“A robot like this will never be useful to deliver you a mattress or set of skis,” Marble co-founder and CEO Matt Delaney tells CNBC. “But the vast majority of goods are relatively small. We are making this useful for many segments including groceries, meals, pharmacy and medicines.”

Tech giants like Amazon , Alphabet and Uber are also interested in rethinking “last mile” delivery. Start-ups like Marble cannot compete with these companies when it comes to size and scale, but it could be an attractive acquisition target. In 2012, Amazon bought robotics company Kiva Systems for nearly $1 billion.

Marble has already raised […]

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