Postmates' Quest to Build the Delivery Robot of the Future

Postmates' Quest to Build the Delivery Robot of the Future

Food delivery service Postmates is building delivery robots to reduce reliance on vehicles. This endeavor faces many of the same challenges as autonomous vehicles, such as safety and public perception.

Key findings

“In the seven years since its founding, Postmates has been on the forefront of the on-demand revolution, averaging 4 million deliveries each month in over 550 cities.”

“Safety concerns have caused some cities to severely limit where sidewalk robots can operate. San Francisco—where Postmates is headquartered—now requires permits for start-ups to run their robots on public sidewalks, and even then, they're limited to areas with low foot traffic.”

“Postmates has dispatched versions of its rovers on thousands of deliveries in cities like Los Angeles and Toronto. For the most part, customers wouldn’t know: the rovers pick up items from restaurants, drive them to Postmates cars, and leave the humans to do the final hand-off. The rovers are remotely supervised by a Postmates employee, who can intervene with a game controller when necessary.”

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