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A number of autonomous vehicle tests seem to be traveling parallel roads…

TechCrunch reports that self-driving car company Cruise “is partnering with DoorDash to pilot food and grocery delivery in San Francisco … The program will be available to select DoorDash customers, who will be able to receive deliveries from restaurants via a Cruise autonomous vehicle. The partnership will also explore grocery fulfillment via Cruise vehicles for select grocers already partnered with DoorDash.”

The test is scheduled to begin early this year.

• In suburban New York, the Journal-News reports that PepsiCo is testing another self-driving vehicle - albeit one the size of a large cooler that actually is a robot.

According to the story, the company is using these self-driving robots “at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, to deliver snacks and beverages from Hello Goodness, a curated portfolio of better-for-you brands from PepsiCo, as part of a new test phase … Students order the snacks via an app and then meet the six-wheeled robot, which moves at speeds of up to six miles per hour, at one of more than 50 locations on campus. The robots, made by Bay Area-based Robby Technologies, weigh less than 80 pounds and stand at less than three feet tall. They stop when someone stands in front of it, making for easy snack access.”

The robots have a single-charge range of 20-miles, and have cameras and headlights so they can travel in the dark. However, they do need humans for one important function - to refill them when they’re empty.
KC's View:
Clearly we are going to see various iterations of this concept … both Kroger and Walmart are testing their versions … and while not all of them will work, eventually someone is going to crack the code in a meaningful way that will have, you’ll excuse the expression, legs.

I’m fascinated by the potential.