Who wants to have their dinner delivered by a robot?

Here’s your chance.

Heads up, Houston: the robots are coming.

Coco, the Los Angeles-based business that offers a remotely piloted delivery service, has hit the streets of Houston with its food-delivery bots as part of its expansion to targeted markets. Fueled by a recent funding round that garnered the company $56 million, Coco has already launched in Austin; its expansion plans also include rolling out bots in the Dallas and Miami markets soon.

Here in Houston, locals can look forward to delivery at restaurants including Brookstreet BBQ, Rustika Cafe, Ruggles Black, and Trendy Dumpling, according to the company.

Here’s how it works: Customers place a restaurant order like usual, then a Coco bot — operated by a “trained pilot” — drives to the restaurant to pick it up. The restaurant staff loads the bot as soon as the food is ready, and Coco arrives at the customer’s door within 15 minutes. Each bot is locked until it reaches the customer, so no one can tamper with your pizza or egg rolls.

The company claims that compared with traditional food-delivery methods, its bots decrease the time it takes food to reach the customer by 30 percent, and that the service has an on-time delivery rate of 97 percent.

Of course, Coco bots won’t be zipping up I-10 for a long-haul delivery; they’re meant to work at shorter distances and on mostly pedestrian paths. As the company’s website notes, “A surprisingly large portion of deliveries are done within less than 2 miles. We believe there is no reason to have a 3,000-pound car deliver a burrito over short distances.”

That “trained pilot” is a person working from home, according to Engadget. You can see a little video on the Coco homepage, and there you can see why this is a thing that will be using sidewalks and bike trails and other pedestrian-friendly routes to make its deliveries. You can already get things like pizza and groceries and prescriptions delivered via automated vehicles, so the concept here isn’t novel, but the method is new. I’m the type of person who’d rather walk to the restaurant and eat the food there, at an outdoor table if possible, but I have never claimed to be representative of anything. We’ll see how well this works.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Food, glorious food and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Who wants to have their dinner delivered by a robot?

  1. Flypusher says:

    The food robots are already at UH.

  2. voter_worker says:

    Who has the right-of-way, humanoids or this thing? And of course, no group of middle schoolers will ever think of making a TikTok of them rolling Coco. Not a chance.

  3. David Fagan says:

    All these video game skillz are finally going to pay off.

  4. policywonqueria says:

    Never mind the Luddites, worry about sidewalk width and plate tectonics

    If you have cycling or even just sidewalking experience on say – Lower Westheimer, Richmond, Dunlavy or Montrose Blvd, you might wonder how the little four-wheeler thingy is going to navigate, not to mention having one come at you while you are on two wheels on the sidewalk (to avoid being hit by a conventional motor vehicle) and are heading in the opposite direction of where the meal-on-four-little-wheels is going.

    And on the lesser neighborhood streets, you got plate tectonics and path-crossing old-growth root issues, so the street pavement itself would seem to be the only viable option to avoid getting stuck, not to mention the risk of roll-over events. At least there won’t be anything still alive in the delivery bot, except perhaps a lobster en route to a domestic hot pot to further the freshness of the kill prior to the high-end human ingestion.

    But a bike-COCO collision could result in concussion or worse.

Comments are closed.