Food delivery companies are upping their game with the introduction of robots.
On June 10, foodpanda announced their driverless delivery trials featuring a pink droid from mid-May onwards.
Foodpanda has partnered with three autonomous robot start-ups - Nanyang Technological University (NTU) student start-up, Whizz Mobility, Singapore’s leading robotics company, OTSAW, and leading Chinese autonomous vehicle start-up, Neolix.
The partnerships will roll out sequentially in different locations across Singapore.
Consumers within the trial areas may have their orders delivered by a robot from one of the three robot companies.
According to their press release, the robots are intended to provide additional support to riders by completing last-mile deliveries, especially at difficult locations, and to ease strains on riders during peak periods or bad weather conditions.
If you're an NTU student or faculty member, you may have seen Whizz Mobility's self-driving electronically powered robots, FoodBots, on campus.
The FoodBot may also be familiar to avid TikTokers who have seen that video of a delivery rider's encounter with it.
The rollout of Whizz Mobility robots kicked off foodpanda's autonomous delivery projects.
Covering 200 hectares of the entire NTU campus, the fleet of four FoodBots picks up food and other items from foodpanda merchants and delivers orders to staff and students around the campus daily, from 11am to 7pm.
This collaboration with foodpanda builds on Whizz's ongoing pilot that has been running since June 2020 with Cates, a food delivery mobile app developed by NTU-incubated start-up Wecome.
In the past 10 months, the FoodBots have delivered over 10,000 lunch and dinner orders to designated collection points at selected times on the NTU campus.
Whizz will continue to work with Cates, in addition to foodpanda.
The robots are self-driving with a backend operator remaining in control to accept orders.
Merchants will load food and other items into the robot upon confirming the order code displayed on the robot.
Selected customers who place orders during the robots' operation hours will be notified if their delivery will be made by the robot.
Customers are required to show the order proof to the camera mounted on the robot to unlock the hatch and collect their order.
Foodpanda's trial with FoodBots will run from May to November 2021, with plans to expand to other areas in Singapore.
Punggol residents may have spotted OTSAW's white oblong robot, Camello, making deliveries in the neighbourhood since March 2021.
Camello is the first autonomous robot to have passed Land Transport Authority (LTA)’s safety assessment for the supervised use of autonomous vehicles on public paths.
Foodpanda has recruited Camello to join its fleet and deliver food, groceries, and more from Punggol Oasis terrace mall to residents in surrounding HDB Blocks.
The robots will delivery to approximately 10 HDB blocks, which is a significant increase from the 700 households served during OTSAW's initial launch in March.
Camello will drive it self to the ground floor of the customer's location and send a One-Time Pin (OTP) to the customer upon arrival.
The customer can then open the trunk with this OTP to collect their order.
Foodpanda's three-month trial with OTSAW's Camello robots in August, with plans to expand the trial delivery area to more locations to reach more customers.
Neolix autonomous vehicles boasts two functions -- delivering food orders in National University of Singapore University Town (NUS UTown) and becoming mobile convenience stores during off-peak mealtimes.
Neolix vehicles will deliver orders that riders have picked up from outside of UTown, fulfilling last-mile deliveries.
Each vehicle can store up to 100 bento boxes at once, increasing the chances of a successful order being placed while keeping delivery costs low.
During off-peak mealtimes, Neolix vehicles will transform into mobile convenience stores and be stocked with midday pick-me-ups such as coffee and snacks.
Foodpanda's partnership with Neolix will run from July to October 2021 at UTown, with plans to extend their services to other parts of the NUS campus with more vehicles.
This partnership also marks the Chinese autonomous vehicle start-up's debut in Singapore.
Top images by foodpanda.