Gadgets

Your next Postmates order might be delivered by a robot

DoorDash and Postmates launch pilot programs with Starship Technologies to deliver your orders via autonomous robot.

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A Starship delivery bot on a sidewalk in London.

Starship Technologies

A friendly neighborhood robot might soon deliver your takeout.

Small, six wheeled robots from Starship Technologies will start taking orders in Redwood City, California, and Washington DC, the company said in a release Wednesday. Starship is partnering with food delivery services DoorDash and Postmates for the pilot programs, its first in the US.

Starship already has a number of delivery partners in Europe such as Just Eat, Hermes Parcel Delivery, Media Markt, Swiss Post and Wolt. The bots gained legal approval to travel on sidewalks and crosswalks in Redwood City and Washington last year, as well as Fayetteville, Arkansas. Starship will use the pilot programs to gauge delivery times and customer response to fast food on demand courtesy of a robot.

Both Postmates and DoorDash offered assurances that they don't intend to use the drones to replace human drivers -- just to enhance their respective fleets.

"With DoorDash's goal of building the local logistics layer for every city, we have a clear shared passion with Starship for revolutionizing last mile delivery," said Stanley Tang, co-founder and chief product officer at DoorDash, in a emailed statement. "By adding robots as a complement to the tens of thousands of Dashers who use the DoorDash platform, we'll be able to better delight customers with faster, more convenient deliveries."

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