The Chicago City Council has approved a robotic food delivery that previously served only a fraction of the UIC campus.
The new delivery area will now be expanded many times. It should cover the University of Illinois Hospital as Ogden Avenue is the eastern boundary and Halsted Stree is the western boundary. The limits are Eisenhower Expressway and Roosevelt Road in the north and south.
A particular emphasis is set on safety, and although the robots are relatively small (cooler-size) and light (75 Lbs), they have to move at only four mph, which is an adult’s brisk walk. The robots have proven they can work during Chicago’s winter as well.
The robots are highly cautious and won’t take any chances when crossing the road, even if it means waiting longer. Only the customer’s phone can unlock the lid containing the order when they arrive at their destination. That part is straightforward.
It’s an interesting experiment as robots can now efficiently perform these tasks, and the ecosystem is better understood after much experimentation during the past few years. Users can download the Starship food delivery app from the similarly named company to use this service.
After ordering, one of about 20-30 robots serving this area will show up with the food. That’s it.
While perfect for packaged goods and fast foods, such a service still needs to convince restaurants and caterers who are already unhappy with the fees of other app-based delivery services. One thing is sure: these robots will improve over time. Similar experiments are ongoing in Idaho and many other places.