The newest Kiwibot.

Kiwibot

  • Chick-fil-A is testing out robot delivery in California.
  • The chicken chain is working with Kiwibot, which makes tiny, semi-autonomous delivery robots.
  • Several other chains are also working on robot deliveries, including Domino’s and Chipotle.

Chick-fil-A is testing out robot deliveries in California, Restaurant Business Online reported.

Small, semi-autonomous Kiwibots will be an option at checkout for Chick-fil-A customers at three locations in Santa Monica, California through a partnership between the two companies. Deliveries will use the newest version, Kiwibot 4.0, to make short deliveries.

“What we promise is to at least halve the time it takes for all orders a mile or closer, and more than half the cost” of average deliveries, Kiwibot COO Diego Varela Prada told Restaurant Business Online. The average Chick-fil-A delivery costs $1.99 and takes 30 minutes, according to Chick-fil-A.

The Kiwibots are four-wheeled, semi-autonomous rovers. They’re designed to detect obstacles including people, vehicles, and traffic lights, and they’re able to navigate terrain like sidewalks. Though the new Kiwibots have the most advanced sensors of the brand’s robots yet, they aren’t totally autonomous and still require monitoring.

According to Kiwibot, Chick-fil-A is interested in expanding the pilot program beyond the initial locations if all goes well.

“It’s too early to say where that’s going to end up, but we’re hopeful that we are going to be deploying with them a number of locations later this year or into next year,” Prada said.

Chick-fil-A did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

The robots, which Kiwibot’s website calls “adorable,” have screens with faces designed to improve customer experience. The robots can even wink.

Sales via delivery, curbside pickup, and drive-thrus all exploded for restaurants during the pandemic as indoor dining closed and consumers avoided shopping inside restaurants and grocery stores.Other big name US chains are also looking into robot delivery. 

California-based Nuro makes tiny autonomous delivery vehicles that some of these companies are working with. So far, the company has partnered with Walmart, CVS, KrogerChipotle, and Domino’s.

Kiwibot is also working with Segway and Shopify, and says it has completed 150,000 deliveries so far.

Via BusinessInsider.com

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