Grab to trial robot runner, collects orders across several restaurants

Grab Singapore announced today (May 19) a pilot robot racer service at Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ) shopping mall, starting in the second week of June.

The robot runner will be able to consolidate orders at multiple restaurants in the mall before handing them over to delivery partners at a central collection point for last mile delivery.

Take on projects that its delivery partners can cut five to 15 minutes from the typical time it takes to browse malls and collect multiple orders.

During the pilot phase, the robot runner will potentially serve up to 35 GrabFood and GrabMart merchants in basement two of the PLQ Mall and process approximately over 250 orders per day.

At the start, a Grab runner will guide the robotic runner on his ideal route.

This will allow him to learn, adapt and function effectively in a controlled environment. The pilot project is expected to last a month and Grab will examine its performance and viability before expanding this service to other sites.

The introduction of the robot runner comes as Grab introduced the mix-and-match feature to several malls last year. The feature has gained popularity with consumers as they order at different restaurants in a mall and pay one-time delivery charges.

However, with the increase in the number of these orders, delivery partners found themselves needing more time to travel to malls in order to locate multiple restaurants.

“As a technology platform serving consumers, merchants and delivery people, we are continually seeking innovative solutions that can improve the overall delivery experience for all parties. It’s the right balance to be struck and we believe that advanced technologies like AI can help us do this well, ”said Yee Wee Tang, Managing Director of Grab Singapore.

Powered by artificial intelligence

The robot runner is designed in partnership with Techmetics Robotics which specializes in the design of a wide range of autonomous mobile robots.

The Grab robot runner will have the ability to learn more about its environment thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and to optimize for maximum efficiency.

It is also equipped with safety features such as integrated light detection and range finding (LIDAR) sensors to detect incoming obstacles.

In addition, it has an automated voice message that alerts buyers to its presence, and the ability to scan and monitor its immediate vicinity in real time to avoid sudden obstacles and avoid collisions.

The food cart on the Robot Runner will be fitted with a combination lock, with the combination given only to participating merchants and Grab staff. This is to avoid forgery by passers-by.

Featured Image Credit: Grab

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