Grab Singapore today (May 19) announced a pilot robot runner service at Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ) Mall, starting the second week of June.
The robot runner will be able to consolidate orders across several restaurants within the mall before handing them to delivery partners at a central collection point for last-mile delivery.
Grab projects that its delivery partners may shave off between five to 15 minutes of the usual time taken to navigate shopping malls and collect multiple orders.
During the pilot phase, the robot runner will potentially serve up to 35 GrabFood and GrabMart merchants in basement two of PLQ Mall and ferry approximately more than 250 orders per day.
In the beginning, a Grab runner will guide the robot runner on its ideal route.
This will allow it to learn, adapt and function effectively in a controlled setting. The pilot is expected to last for a month and Grab will review its performance and viability before expanding this service to other locations.
The introduction of the robot runner comes as Grab introduced the mix-and-match feature to several malls last year. The feature has grown in popularity with consumers as they get to order from different restaurants within a mall, and pay a single delivery fee.
However, with the number of such orders increasing, delivery partners have found themselves requiring more time to manoeuvre through malls to locate multiple restaurants.
“As a tech platform that serves consumers, merchants and delivery riders, we are continually seeking innovative solutions that can improve the overall delivery experience for all parties. It is a fine balance to achieve and we believe that advanced technologies such as AI can help us do this well,” said Yee Wee Tang, Grab Singapore Managing Director.
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The robot runner is designed in partnership with Techmetics Robotics which specialises in designing a wide range of autonomous mobile robots.
The Grab robot runner will have the ability to learn about its surroundings through artificial intelligence (AI) and optimise for maximum efficiency.
It also comes fitted with safety features such as built-in Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) sensors to detect incoming obstacles.
Furthermore, it features an automated voice message that alerts shoppers of its presence, and the capability to scan and monitor its immediate proximity in real-time to avoid sudden obstacles and prevent collision.
The food cart on the robot runner will come fitted with a combination lock, with the combination given only to participating merchants and Grab staff. This is to prevent tampering by passers-by.
Featured Image Credit: Grab