City innovation team wants to bring food delivery robots to Sacramento

Semi-autonomous robot could change how food is delivered to Sacramentans in pilot project

An expected increase in the online food delivery market means the potential for more vehicle trips, congestion and green house gases, but City staff are proposing that food delivery robots could be the futuristic solution.

In talks since June 2019, the City and technology company, Kiwi Campus Inc., are attempting to add another delivery option alongside food delivery services like Postmates, Grubhub and DoorDash.

The City is proposing a 12-month pilot project that would use and test up to 30 “Kiwi bots” in midtown then expanding to other Sacramento communities.

Pilot projects like this one ensure that feedback and policy concerns are taken into account, while allowing the City to work with companies and test new technologies to prove the viability of the product or service.

The City’s theory is that semi-autonomous food delivery robots like Kiwi’s can help alleviate congestion concerns, with some surprise benefits.

“Not only do food delivery robots help us keep more cars off the streets, we see potential employment opportunities for disadvantaged communities where unemployment is two to five times higher than the national average,” said Louis Stewart, City Chief Innovation Officer. “Kiwi Campus typically hires local workers to map routes, service and maintain the Kiwi bots.”

Kiwi’s delivery robots operate on public sidewalks at average speeds of two mph and deliver food to customers through a mobile app.

City residents and business owners can share their thoughts about the Kiwi bots by sending an email to deliveryrobots@innovatesac.org.

The company currently operates in the City of Berkeley, University of California, Berkeley, Standford University and other campus nationally.

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