drone pilot industryWalmart/Gatik pilot tests fully driverless delivery

November 11, 2021by helo-10

In this special edition of its 5 Things series, Food Management highlights five recent technology-related developments affecting the foodservice world.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Uber Eats customers in Los Angeles soon to get robot delivery

Autonomous sidewalk delivery company Serve Robotics has announced a partnership with food delivery and ride-sharing platform Uber Technologies, Inc. to bring on-demand robotic delivery service to Uber Eats customers starting in Los Angeles early next year. “Serve Robotics is looking forward to delivering great convenience for Uber Eats merchants and customers,” said Serve Robotics Co-founder/CEO Dr. Ali Kashani. “Uber is our first commercial partner and will be a strong source of demand for us as we use contactless delivery to power community commerce at scale.”

Read more: Serve Robotics and Uber Expand Partnership to Bring Robotic Delivery to Uber Eats

  1. Walmart pilot tests fully driverless delivery 

Teaming up with logistics and delivery tech firm Gatik, Walmart is piloting daily delivery without a safety driver behind the wheel of a delivery route in its headquarters city of Bentonville in Arkansas, moving customer orders between a Walmart dark store and a Neighborhood Market in its fleet of multi-temperature autonomous box trucks. Gatik’s deployment with Walmart in the state represents the first time that an autonomous trucking company has removed the safety driver from a commercial delivery route on the middle mile anywhere in the world, according to Gatik.

Read more: Walmart goes fully driverless in delivery pilot in Bentonville

  1. Automated pizza kitchens expanding in corporate settings

Automated pizza kitchen (APK) vendor Basil Street has placed five of its units in some of the largest corporate settings in the United States, such as Northrop Grumman in Southern California and Texas-based Daikin, providing upgraded meal solutions that have generated an overall uptick in employee satisfaction and requests for additional APK units. They join existing APK units in colleges, major airports, drinking establishments, truck stops and other locations.

“We are leading a revolution, stepping-up the delivery of hot, delicious food options at traditional, unfulfilling vending machine locations through innovative automated pizza kitchen technology,” said CEO Deglin Kenealy. Basil Street’s kiosks feature three 10-inch Italian style, thin-crust pizza options—four-cheese, pepperoni, and a “Pizza of the Month”—made with the freshest ingredients and then flash-frozen before being cooked-to-order in about three minutes with a patented three-element non-microwave speed oven.

Read more: Basil Street Provides Solution to Growing Need for Corporate Contactless Dining

  1. Sally the robot provides fresh foodservice during hospital café renovation

Sally, the fresh-food robot from vendor Chowbotics that custom-makes salads to order from ingredients in its 22 fresh-food compartments, recently debuted at two locations on the Carle Health central Urbana campus in Illinois—in the South Clinic coffee bar and in Carle Foundation Hospital’s lower level in a virtual kitchen pick-up area near the currently closed cafeteria. Since Carle’s cafeteria is undergoing an extensive renovation and isn’t set to reopen until the end of the year, Sally is providing a 24/7 healthy food option for visitors and staff and will likely remain after the cafeteria reopens, says Kevin Steffes, Carle’s food services director.

Read more: Sally the robot now making salads at Carle facilities

  1. Grocer plans drone delivery

Grocer Greer’s Markets plans to offer customers drone delivery service via a technology development partnership with Deuce Drone Inc., which says that flights are slated to begin in November between the Greer’s Market store on St. Louis Street in Mobile, Ala. and business incubator Innovation Portal. Earlier, Deuce Drone had also secured an exclusive contract to deliver lunch at BB&T Financial Centre office complex in Mobile by drone from the nearby Legacy Village retail center.

Read more: Greer’s Markets eyes drone grocery delivery

Bonus: Sustainability remains a priority despite the pandemic

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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There is more to being a drone pilot than just buying a machine and flying in your backyard. It can be that simple, but most of us will need to understand some drone laws before we try to take to the sky.


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