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MIT Technology Review

Postmates has launched a delivery robot that will bring lunch to your door

Postmates, the logistics firm, has unveiled a robot called Serve that will deliver groceries—and lunch—to residents in Los Angeles.

The news: Serve, which looks like a lunchbox on wheels, will travel along sidewalks at walking speed and cover about 30 miles on a single charge, the firm said. It can carry 50 pounds (that’s a lot of burritos). Users will use their smartphone or a code to unlock the robot to get at their food. According to Wired, Serve will travel most of the way with Postmates drivers in a car before being dispatched to take the delivery to the customer’s door. 

Out my way: Serve will use lidar sensors to avoid obstacles and pedestrians and has a ring of light on its “head” to indicate an upcoming turn. Following the gaze of its cartoonish, blinking digital eyes also gives users an idea about where it’s heading. A video touch screen lets people interact with it or tell Postmates if there are any problems, although it will also be monitored remotely.

Rivalry: Postmates isn’t the only player in the nascent delivery robot field. Last month, Starship Technologies announced that it was launching its robots for home deliveries in Milton Keynes, in the UK. Postmates will be launching Serve in LA and has applied for a permit in San Francisco, which has famously been pretty tough on robots in the past.