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Video: The robots are invading!!! Well, just to deliver your food.

Reader Derek had an unusual encounter in the neighborhood on Monday:

While out shopping for groceries this afternoon I saw what looked like a large gas range BBQ on wheels rolling along the sidewalk. On closer inspection I saw that it was actually being controlled by a woman walking behind it with a hand held remote that resembled a PlayStation controller.

The “bot” appears to be a device that Eat24 (Yelp) is testing for food delivery in select cities. The robot is made by Marble, who is “creating a fleet of intelligent courier robots to reliably and securely transport the goods that people need and want in a way that is accessible to everyone”.

Techcrunch explained how it works when the test officially launched in April: “Users order as they normally would through the Yelp Eat24 site or app. They are asked if they’re cool with robot delivery. If they opt in, they get a pin code texted to their phone, which they can use to unlock the robot’s cargo bay when their Marble delivery arrives. After retrieving their food, they close the door and the robot returns to Marble HQ or another restaurant.”

According to Marble’s website, the bots “use advanced sensors and high-resolution 3D city maps to efficiently and politely navigate busy urban environments. Our robots have swappable cargo bays to transport various types of goods – the best way to transport warm meals isn’t necessarily the best way to transport medicine.”

This isn’t the first delivery bot to invade the Richmond District. In September 2016 a Starship Technologies bot delivered a meal from Orson’s Belly on Balboa at a speedy 4 miles per hour.

For now, Marble sends a human chaperone along with each bot as it makes their deliveries. So the next time you order from Eat24, you may just get your food via a robot. Feel free to tip it, but it’s not required.

Sarah B.

The Marble delivery robot spotted at Geary and 4th Avenue on Monday, Aug 14. Photo by Derek.

The Marble delivery robot spotted at Geary and 4th Avenue on Monday, Aug 14. Photo by Derek.

10 Comments

  1. Continuing off Mr. Polite’s comment, when they are able to send it without a chaperone, what do they do when someone tries stealing from it or even knocking it over?

  2. Fortunately we live in a city where everyone is kind and respectful, where there is no petty crime, no vandalism, no theft, and no one would EVER think of suing someone if they got their little toe run over by this nice robot. And of course no one here in town is tech savvy enough to hack this gadget and send it speeding down Geary doing donuts.

  3. Richmond Mike: From what I’ve read, these things weigh a lot and they have cameras all around them in case somebody were to try and rip anything off. I think the idea is pretty cool, but I have a feeling that once they get started, they’ll be short-lived.

  4. Just another in the long line of replacing people at the low end of the economic latter with technology. All the crap by the educated elite about people needing to go to collage is worthless if the “Horatio Alger” stepladder has the lowest rungs torn off by technology.

    I for one refuse to do self check out at any store and I will boycott any business that uses such things instead of people to do these kind of jobs.

  5. Just based on appearance, that cart looks like a powered mobility scooter with a box on top. Some of those scooters weigh around 300 pounds.

  6. How is the device powered?
    That thing on top looks like a “Mr. Fusion home energy reactor.”

    “….gotta get back in time….”

  7. Also with the “chaperone” it looks very much like a Paleta Cart.

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