Foodpanda to trial food delivery via autonomous robots in S’pore

Food delivery platform Foodpanda announced today (June 10) that it has partnered with three autonomous robot startups to advance driverless deliveries in Singapore.

They include Nanyang Technological University (NTU) student startup, Whiz Mobility; local robotics company OTSAW; and the Chinese autonomous vehicle startup Neolix.

The trials will be deployed sequentially at separate sites in Singapore.

Starting in mid-May, customers in the various trial areas will have the chance to have their orders delivered by a striking pink droid among the three startups.

The robots are intended to provide additional support to cyclists in making last mile deliveries, especially to access difficult places, and to provide relief to cyclists during rush hour or bad weather conditions.

According to a press release from Foodpanda, the launch of these pilot projects is also timed to meet the growing demand for safer deliveries following the pandemic.

How it works

Foodpanda Whiz Mobility
FoodBot from Whiz Mobility / Image credit: Foodpanda

Foodpanda’s autonomous delivery projects began with the deployment of Whiz Mobility’s FoodBots, which deliver across the entire NTU campus, covering 200 hectares.

Autonomous, electronically-powered robots work like riders, picking up food and other items from merchants and delivering orders to staff and students on campus every day, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Selected customers who place orders during robot opening hours will receive a notification informing them that their orders will be delivered by the robot.

Merchants will load the ordered items into the robot and once the robot arrives at the delivery location, customers will need to show the proof of order to the camera mounted on the robot to unlock the hatch and pick up their order.

Foodpanda’s trial with FoodBots will run from May to November 2021, with plans to expand to other parts of Singapore.

Otsaw’s Camello robot / Image credit: Foodpanda

Foodpanda is also recruiting Camello – OTSAW’s autonomous delivery robot – to join its fleet to deliver food, groceries and more from the Punggol Oasis Terrace Mall to residents of the surrounding HDB blocks.

The robots will deliver around 10 HDB blocks.

Camello will pick up foodpanda orders from partner merchants, go downstairs to the customer location, and upon arrival, send a Single Use Pin (OTP) to the customer. Customers can then enter the OTP to open the safe to collect their order.

Foodpanda will launch its three-month trial with Otsaw’s Camello robots in August, with plans to add more locations and expand the trial delivery area to reach more customers.

Foodpanda Neolix
Autonomous vehicle Neolix / Image credit: Foodpanda

On the other hand, Neolix’s autonomous vehicles will not only be able to deliver food orders in the university town of the National University of Singapore (NUS), but will also be able to serve as mobile convenience stores during off-peak meal times.

Its autonomous vehicles can store up to 100 bento boxes at a time. During off-peak hours, it will be stocked with coffee and snacks, turning into a mobile convenience store.

Foodpanda’s partnership with Neolix will run from July to October 2021 at University Town and marks the debut of the Chinese autonomous vehicle startup in Singapore.

Foodpanda’s use of robots for deliveries is also part of its broader strategy to leverage innovative technologies to advance towards a contactless, sustainable and more efficient ecosystem of on-demand delivery services in Singapore.

“We’re always thinking about ways to make our deliveries even more efficient, and we believe robot delivery has a lot to offer to make our deliveries better and safer,” said Jorge Rubio, COO of foodpanda Singapore.

“These robots, intended to supplement our passengers, will allow us to increase our delivery capacity and serve more customers in a more sustainable and profitable way,” he added.

Featured Image Credit: Foodpanda

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