Delivery robotics is a sub-category of the Delivery sector. See all definitions of FoodTech and its categories here.
The “delivery robotics” FoodTech category regroups startups developing drones, robots and autonomous cars for food deliveries.
The robotic delivery ecosystem has been boosted by the pandemic and the labor shortage in its aftermath. The two main criteria for understanding this ecosystem are:
- Where robots circulate: on the sidewalk (small robots such as Starship Technologies’), on the road (autonomous cars’ Nuro) and in the air (drones such as Manna’s).
- The level of autonomy: some of these vehicles are fully autonomous while others are teleoperated (such as those of Coco, a small-robot company)
The last point is key. It seems that this space has been slowed down by its willingness to reach full autonomy. The use of a teleoperator or partial autonomy can provide immediate upside over car deliveries (notably in the case of drones if it is able to reach their destination faster).
From small experiments before the pandemic, we now observe larger-scale deployments. Drones have also been used to quicken deliveries from cloud kitchens to dispatch zones where human riders will then take them to their final destination.
Key startups to consider
- Nuro, which develops autonomous cars
- Manna, which develops drones
- Coco and Starship Technologies, with their small autonomous robots
DigitalFoodLab’s additional insights
- 08/09/2021 – Robots are coming in (cloud) kitchens and in the streets
- 19/02/2021 – Are robots finally here?
- 04/05/2020 – Robots (finally) in the streets
- 28/10/2019 – Last-mile delivery with robots – dream or near-future?
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