Postmates is an extremely popular logistics company who’s employees deliver goods locally. With just a few simple clicks on their app or on their website, you can have the food you are craving delivered right to your doorstep. Just a few months ago, Postmates began testing ground robots as a new method of delivery. The robots are designed to roam the sidewalks and make their deliveries within a two-mile radius. Postmates is quite excited about these robots because these “Starship” robots have had success in other places around the world such as Britain, Germany, Switzerland, and Estonia. The hope is that these robots will please the customers because many times customers get frustrated when there are no Postmates drivers nearby or if they take a long time due to traffic.
While I believe that it would be quite interesting to see robots rolling around delivering food, I see many flaws with this idea. First of all, the robots can only travel at 4mph and are meant to travel on sidewalks. This makes me wonder what they plan for routes that do not have sidewalks. They cannot have these robots roaming around busy streets. Another issue that I see is the fact that the robots run on batteries. I can already envision customers becoming furious because their food never showed up due to their delivering robot losing charge in the middle of the route. This would frustrate customers to a completely different level and could ultimately cause loss of customers. Another issue that I can potentially see happening is people intercepting or vandalizing these robots during the course of its delivery route. I am sure it wouldn’t be too hard for people to either steal the food, or mess with the robot during its route. Based off of the pictures of this model of the robot, the robot operates by rolling with their wheels, similar to a car. What if the robot gets in the way of someone who is having a bad day? It wouldn’t be hard for them to just kick the robot and tip it over. Judging by the looks of the model, it wouldn’t be able to get up so easily, if at all. Yet again, this would result in failure to finish the delivery, leading to more upset customers. There is nothing worse than when you are really hungry and order food, but the food never ends up coming.
Overall, I think implementing delivery robots seems like a cool, high-tech, thing to do, but it is a highly impractical way of delivery. I think that Postmates should focus more on their app and expanding their market. They should focus more on becoming a more efficient and faster deliver service, but robots are not the answer right now. There are way too many negatives and potential failures for the delivery robots right now. There is no harm in testing them out, but ultimately I don’t think they will be successful.