Automation is making itself more prominent in today’s society with the advent of self checkout machines and ATM machines. The ability of a computer conducting daily tasks appears more efficient than humans leading to this change in the workplace. Now, the Chick-Fil-A restaurant chain is testing a robot delivery service that can transport chicken sandwiches on its own.
Through a partnership with the Kiwibot company, these delivery robots will be an option at checkout for three locations in Santa Monica, California. According to Kiwibot CEO Diego Varela, the goal is “to at least halve the time it takes for all orders a mile or closer, and more than half the cost of average deliveries”. These deliveries will be conducted using the newest model: the Kiwibot 4.0.
In addition to being semi-autonomous, the Kiwibot 4.0 has the ability to detect obstacles such as people, vehicles, and traffic lights. They can recognize sidewalk terrain. The robots have screens with faces to improve customer service and experience. They can even wink to their customers which the company labels as “adorable”. Their sensors are quite advanced and have aided companies such as Segway and Shopify in completing over 150,000 deliveries.
The Kiwibot 4.0 has exploded since the pandemic when indoor dining closed and consumers avoided shopping at grocery stores. The company continues to partner with companies such as Walmart, CVS, Chipotle, and Dominos. “It’s too early to say where it’s going to end up”, says Varela, “but we’re hopeful that we’re going to be deploying with them a number of locations this year or later into next year”. Chick-Fil-A will update about these endeavors in the future.