Not too long ago, I saw something on television or online about a robot designed to make deliveries to consumers.
Over the past several weeks, I have spotted, on several different occasions, a six-wheeled robot roving about the streets of Washington, D.C.
I was surprised to see the technology in action so soon. My wife also saw the robot in D.C. We were both very impressed by what we saw.
Yesterday, I saw the delivery robot on the sidewalk waiting to cross the street. I thought it would be a great opportunity to take a picture of the robot.
I noticed that there was a man standing behind the robot. When the light changed, the robot crossed the street with the man behind it.
Another man in his car yelled out his window, “hey, what is that thing?”
I knew what it was.
I was readying myself to take a picture, and I honestly don’t recall exactly what the man’s response was to the person in the car.
However, I was hoping that I would get a chance to ask some questions and learn more about the robot.
I asked the man if I could take a picture of the robot. After taking a few pictures, we briefly chatted about the robot.
I noticed that he had what appeared to be a PlayStation controller, so I asked if he was controlling the robot. He explained that the robot is a prototype that is about 95% autonomous, and it will eventually be fully autonomous.
The self-driving robot carries goods (groceries, packages, etc.) in an internal storage compartment that only the person who ordered the food can access. A customer will be able to use a smartphone to place a delivery order and to track the robot’s whereabouts.
The robot is made by Starship Technologies.
According to its website, the company has offices in Estonia, Germany, United Kingdom, and United States. In the U.S., it has offices in the Redwood City, California and Washington, D.C.
The website refers to the robot as a “personal courier,” and the site indicates that the robot “can carry items within a 3-mile radius…” [and] “it takes 5 to 30 minutes for the shipment to arrive…”
That sounds promising, and I look forward to seeing how things turn out for this robot.