Foodpanda brings autonomous, driverless deliveries to Singapore
By Digital News Asia June 10, 2021
- Food delivery robots delivered in partnership with Whizz Mobility, OTSAW and Neolix
- Begins with fleet of four FoodBots delivering across entire NTU campus
FOODPANDA, in partnership with three autonomous robot startups, have introduced driverless deliveries in Singapore.
From mid-May onwards, customers within the different trial areas will have the chance to have their orders delivered by a pink droid.
The companies in partnership with Foodpanda are Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU Singapore)’s student startup Whizz Mobility; Singapore’s robotics company, OTSAW; and Chinese autonomous vehicle startup, Neolix.
In a statement, Foodpanda said the use of robots for deliveries forms part of its wider strategy to leverage innovative technologies to progress towards a contactless, sustainable, and more efficient ecosystem of on-demand delivery services in Singapore.
The launch of these pilot projects, Foodpanda said, is also timed to meet the increasing demand for safer delivery following the pandemic.
The robots are intended to provide additional support to riders by completing last-mile deliveries, especially in accessing difficult locations, and to ease strains on riders during peak hours or bad weather conditions, it added.
The partnerships will be rolled out sequentially across separate locations in Singapore, Foodpanda said.
“We are always thinking of ways to make our deliveries even more efficient, and we believe that robot delivery has plenty to offer in making our deliveries better and safer,” said Jorge Rubio, operations director of Foodpanda Singapore.
“These robots, which are meant to complement our riders, will allow us to increase our delivery capacity and serve more customers in a more sustainable and cost-effective way.”
Rubio noted that with its autonomous delivery partners, Whizz Mobility, OTSAW, and Neolix, its goal is to enhance the delivery ecosystem so that it can better serve our customers and ensure that our operations are future-proof to adapt to the changing world.
Foodpanda’s autonomous delivery projects began with the rollout of Whizz Mobility robots, which it said will deliver across the entire NTU campus, covering 200 hectares.
Tapping on Whizz’s fleet of four FoodBots, the self-driving electronically powered robots function as riders, picking up food and other items from merchants and delivering the orders to staff and students around the campus daily, from 11am – 7pm.
While the robots are self-driving, they are controlled by a backend operator to accept orders.
Select customers who place orders during the robots’ operation hours will get a notification that their orders will be delivered by the robot.
Merchants will load order items into the robot, and once the robot arrives at the delivery location, customers will be required to show the order proof to the camera mounted on the robot to unlock the hatch and collect their order.
Melvin Foo, founder of Whizz Mobility, said: “Our partnership with global delivery platform Foodpanda is a significant milestone for us as it marks our next phase of development and the opportunity to further test and expand our operations.
“Through this partnership, we hope to better serve our fellow NTU students and faculty on campus in a smarter, safer, and contactless manner during this pandemic.”
Foodpanda’s trial with FoodBots will run from May to Nov 2021, with plans to expand to other areas in Singapore, it said.
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