Yandex, a Russian tech startup, has tied up with US online delivery service Grubhub to deploy robots for faster and cost-effective delivery of food on American college campuses. Their multi-year partnership will see Grubhub allowing its campus partners to use Yandex robots to improve their on-site capabilities. Grubhub says the Yandex robots can handle delivery tasks without human guidance, providing efficient automation for last-mile logistics scenarios. The self-driving vehicles from Yandax called Rovers use technologies that allow them to navigate areas otherwise not possible to reach by car.
These robots can perform last-mile deliveries on pre-mapped areas during daylight, night, average snow, and rain. They can use regulated and unregulated crosswalks. As a rover nears the drop-off point, the diner receives a push notification with the status update, and when it arrives, they open the hatch via the app. The diner can then take the food out of the opened rover, close the hatch, and let it proceed to the next delivery.
Yandex began operating food delivery robots, called Rovers, in 2019 in Moscow, Tel Aviv, and Ann Arbor, Michigan. In a statement, Grubhub said that it has partnered with more than 250 college campuses across the US to allow students to integrate meal plans directly into their Grubhub account and access restaurants both on- and off-campus for delivery and pickup.
“Together with Yandex, we’re changing the way college students experience food delivery,” said Brian Madigan, Vice President of Corporate and Campus Partners at Grubhub.
Madigan said college campuses are “notoriously difficult” for cars to navigate but Yandex robots easily access parts of campuses that vehicles cannot.
Dmitry Polishchuk, CEO of Yandex Self-Driving Group, said they chose to partner with Grubhub because of its unparalleled reach into college campuses as well as the flexibility and strength of the online platform.
Grubhub and Yandex’s partnership will be available to universities for the fall semester, according to the statement.