Your next takeout meal could come courtesy of a little robot helper. Starship Technologies and Just Eat completed the world’s first takeout delivery by robot on Thursday, the culmination of months of hard work to design a machine capable of tackling London’s unpredictable streets. When an order came in via the Just Eat app to Turkish restaurant Taksim Meze, restaurant manager Ana Maria Stingaciu decided to request a Starship robot to deliver Greenwich resident Simone’s meal.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the door to find a robot waiting to greet me — it was like something out of a movie,” Simone said. “The only thing I wasn’t sure of is whether or not to tip!”
Once the robot arrived, the restaurant placed the meal inside the robot’s secure cargo hold. Starship previously explained to Inverse that the cargo area is secured with an electronic lock, and GPS keeps track of its movements. The bots have varying degrees of autonomy, but Starship maintains a constant line of communication with them. In short, any passers-by that try to steal the food inside will be in for a nasty shock when the police track them down.
Ten minutes before arrival, Simone received a text message to let her know the order was nearing arrival. When it arrived, she received a second message with a special link that, when activated, released the cargo hold lock.
“I am really proud Taksim Meze is the first restaurant to make a takeaway delivery using robot technology,” Stingaciu said. “I am looking forward to utilising the technology during the busy festive season to help keep up with demand.”
Just Eat will continue to increasingly pick Greenwich-based customers to receive a robot delivery, but the customer won’t get to request a robot. Although the bots are initially serving Greenwich, Starship plans to roll out the bots in more areas of London in 2017.