Folks working in office towers in Shenzhen High-Tech Park can now have their lunch orders brought to them by robots, instead of walking, talking deliverymen and women.
According to Sohu.com, these robots can access the lobby elevator and deliver food straight to the customer's office. The order can then be easily collected by typing in a verification code on the robot’s ‘face.’
Watch the lunch-delivering robots in action (VPN off):
The machines can carry up to 25 kilograms of food at one time, while also being able to work for 12 hours on a single charge. When the robots are low on battery, they can automatically recharge themselves.
With such a huge demand for waimai in Shenzhen, you might rightly wonder: will these robots soon be seen traveling the streets? At least for now, that’s pretty unlikely.
According to Sina Shenzhen, these robots are currently only operating in office towers that restrict access for food deliveries. As such, the robots are more of an indoor tool designed to address the ‘last 100-meter problem.’
Back In April 2017, Wang Xing, CEO of Meituan Dianping, expressed his intention to cut costs by developing food-delivery robots during a summit in Beijing.
Image via sohu.com
“Driverless cars and robots are not that far away in the future and it is my view that food-delivering robots will appear even sooner than driverless cars,” said Wang, adding that the use of data and artifical intelligence will bring down costs and delivery times.
In March, Wang also stated that Meituan had already established a research and development team for food-delivery robots, expressing his firm belief that the service would “become a reality over the coming five years,” according to ifeng.com.
While food-delivery robots in China are beginning to make life easier for people in office buildings, machines of similar nature have also been piloted and even taken to the streets in a number of places around the world.
According to Sohu.com, in 2016, a food-delivery machine developed by Starship Technologies was piloted in London by the food-delivery platform Just Eat. Another device developed by a tech company named Marble in the US was also spotted on a street in San Francisco in 2017.
A few states in the US, including Virginia, Wisconsin, Florida and Ohio, have even passed laws to allow delivery robots to use the sidewalks.
[Cover image via info.finance.hc360.com]