Postmates introduces Serve robot

US on-demand last delivery company Postmates has unveiled its robot delivery system called ‘Serve’. This is a product of the company’s R&D team analysing “millions of deliveries, researching interactions and conducting thousands of deliveries to ultimately develop the first autonomous vehicle created from the ground up by an on-demand delivery company.”

“We realised we are in a unique position to create an autonomous delivery vehicle with socially aware navigation that understands how to navigate cities while meeting specific customer needs,” said Bastian Lehmann, co-founder & CEO, Postmates. “We took a design-first approach with Serve that walks alongside people and fits into our communities. We were able to use data to model how food and goods could move around cities even more efficiently when rovers join our existing fleet of more than 350,000 Postmates. Ultimately, we believe that goods should move through cities at nearly zero cost to consumers.”

One of the key aspects of the new delivery robot is that it is designed to look and feel ‘friendly’ to the customer and other road users. This is also an advertisement to potential customers who may be encouraged to use Postmates on seeing the robot in the street.

“One thing we learned early on is that we need to develop a language for rovers and humans to understand each other’s intentions,” continued Lehmann. “We have developed a specific rover-human interface so that people understand what rovers are doing at any moment.”

The Serve robots are to be deployed in Los Angeles initially, followed by San Francisco as robots’ position with regard local street use regulations can be ironed out in the various metropolitan areas. It is planned that the full roll-out of Serve across the USA is to take place through the next 12 months.