Tiny “Kiwibots” Swarm the Sidewalks of American Cities, Delivering People’s Food Orders

By: | June 8th, 2021

Image by Kiwibot

The sidewalk mini delivery bots known as “Kiwibots” are getting increasingly deployed in the United States, with Chicago, Santa Monica, and Los Angeles already fostering the novel autonomous food delivery service, while Miami is currently pilot-testing it. The Colombian startup that launched the service recently presented the fourth version of the “Kiwibot”, offering restaurants a new and innovative way to deliver food orders to their customers by paying the platform much less than what they would pay for the traditional method, which is then passed as a cost saving to the customers.

The robots feature a square insulated compartment that is sealed from the elements outside, so everything that’s put in the Kiwibot is kept at the temperature it was made in the kitchen. The robots can cover 1.5 miles of distance in 30 minutes, so this is the current range limit in order to keep the delivery times to a certain, acceptable extent. Also, the capacity of the compartment allows for up to three medium-sized sandwiches to be carried, so there’s no room for pizza yet.

The main troubles and challenges for the Kiwibot include interaction with pedestrians, crossing the road, and being secure from malicious individuals who may attempt to steal the food. The company is employing remote supervisors who are monitoring the robots with real-time GPS tracking, while each Kiwibot has four cameras so all sides are recorded for safety and security. And finally, there’s always an agent within three minutes of drive distance from the robot, so the reaction to any problem is quick.

The Kiwibots use batteries to move around, and they can keep going for nine hours of continuous service. After that, they must be charged for four hours, which is enough to take their cells from empty to full. Since all of them are controlled by the startup company, none of it is the restaurants’ concern, so the service is pretty alluring for them. They just pay Kiwibot $3 per delivery and order distribution it’s no longer their problem.

Why pay salaries, cover insurance requirements, deal with sick days, road accidents, and everything else that comes with human-operated delivery networks when you can just outsource everything to robots? This is the promise of Kiwibot, and judging from the rate of adoption, it appears to be pretty convincing.


Bill Toulas

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