S'pore food delivery rider confronts his future, a food delivery robot: 'Come here ah, fight ah'

The present and future collide.

Belmont Lay | April 12, 2021, 01:58 PM

A food delivery rider in Singapore confronted his future, in the form of an autonomous food delivery robot, which was also making its rounds doling out food to customers.

The funny video of the present and possible future crossing paths one fine day was put up on TikTok on April 11, 20201.

What video showed

The video showed the human food delivery rider asking the derpy-looking food delivery robot if it wants to fight.

The person shooting the video said jokingly in Malay and English: "You want fight? Oi! I do delivering of food here, okay? I work at GrabFood, not you."

When the robot approached the food delivery rider, the human said: "Hello, hello? You want fight? You want fight? You want fight? Why? Come here ah. Fight ah. Where are you going? Oi! Oi!"

The exact location of the encounter was outside Nanyang Executive Centre on the Nanyang Technological University campus.

Food delivery robot stopped in its tracks

The robot appeared to have stopped in its tracks as it sensed an approaching obstacle, in the form of the human food delivery rider who was observing it.

The robot subsequently moved off on its own again, going from the road, over a slight hump and onto the pedestrian footpath -- effectively avoiding confrontation with its human counterpart.

About food delivery robot

According to a media release previously, the machines are known as FoodBots and are developed by Whizz Mobility, a student start-up at NTU.

The small self-driving robots have delivered over 6,000 lunch and dinner orders on the campus in Jurong over eight months from end-circuit breaker June 2020 to February 2021, The Straits Times reported.

The robots can each carry a load of up to 50kg and move at 5kmh, the average walking speed of pedestrians.

They are also equipped with a camera.

There are five of them in total.

The robots are all-terrain and programmed to stay on the pavement and avoid grass patches, and travel on pre-mapped delivery routes.

However, the entire system is not human-free.

Whizz Mobility pays students to monitor the robots in real time through the camera.

The students need to guide the robots to move safely when they are at places such as road crossings.

The robots have had zero collisions to date.

About Whizz Mobility

Whizz Mobility is currently partnered with Cates, a food delivery mobile application.

There were at least 60 food and beverage merchants on its platform by February 2021.

Whizz Mobility received about 70 food orders a day, up from eight a day last August.

The start-up is looking to commercialise its product

By December 2020, the robots had ventured out of campus to deliver food to the nearby CleanTech Park.

By January 2021, the robots started delivering drinks from bubble tea shops in NTU to various collection points on campus.