back to article Postmates plans rollout of autonomous delivery robots in US

Delivery biz Postmates on Tuesday showed off a wheeled robotic box named Serve that should soon start showing up in cities around the US, carrying goods for customers. The autonomous snack bin is expected to show up first in Los Angeles, city government permitting, and in other cities over the course of the next year. "Serve …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can hear the sound of someone greasing up the lawyers from here.

  2. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Hmmm...

    Bored sub-teens please note.

    Do not ride the postmate

    Do not spray paint the postmate

    Do not place bags of dog s**t onto the postmate

    You get the idea

  3. Garymrrsn
    FAIL

    Never mind the cargo...

    Four wheels and some cool computer hardware?

    They will have to pay a human to guard the thing.

  4. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    "headed first to LA"

    In LA (the abbreviation in the US for the State of Louisiana) they will need floats and a propeller ... I wonder if you mean L.A.? aka Los Angeles?

    1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: "headed first to LA"

      Even though you are quite correct, in many other places LA automatically means Los Angeles. Ordering something on the phone one time, the person attempted to confirm my address as "Baton Rouge, Los Angeles?"

      um... no.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: "headed first to LA"

        Probably that same places that fire their teachers when they give a world geography lesson and mention the Niger River in West Africa... "America is a large, friendly dog in a very small room. Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair." - Arnold Toynbee.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: "headed first to LA"

          "Probably that same places that fire their teachers when they give a world geography lesson and mention the Niger River in West Africa... "

          Were they pronouncing it wrong? If so, odd considering LA was originally mainly French speaking.

          I've always thought it was pronounced Nee-JER, a soft J

  5. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Interesting....

    So I've got a thing that wanders around a city with a 'puter, a large battery, good optics, and some sort of wireless backhaul. With enough cargo capacity for a nice software defined radio, antenna farm, and power amps. Ohhh, yeah.

    Goodbye War Kitteh and DoS Dog! I think I found something a lot more useful.

    If I'm really lucky nobody will get hacked off, repurpose one as an IED, and send it back.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Interesting....

      I think the armour, security and defensive weapons load are going to limit the payload somewhat.

      1. sambaynham

        Re: Interesting....

        Thank you for ordering with Amazon! Please take your package! YOU HAVE TEN SECONDS TO COMPLY.

  6. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Defensive weapory...

    @ChrisG,

    Good point. It would just not be appropriate to have a cell or other electronic device on your person when you interact with one of these for personal gain. Might suggest a Guy Fawkes mask and hoodie. But a roving personal arms chest is rather tempting.

    What I'm thinking of though is the possibility of using these for societal good. I wonder if police tactics against protesters might become better aligned with their claimed TTPs if they have these high viz robots watching them optically and electronically on behalf of the people and press? Something that faithfully monitors their behavior but is rather immune to intimidation and pepper spray?

    Surveillance... it can be a two-way street.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Okay, I have to ask

    Has any of these trials actually resulted in a successful delivery of goods ?

    Because the potential for mischief seems sky-high to me.

    I wish Postmates luck. They're gonna need it.

  8. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Robot Wars

    The lack of a self-righting mechanism on this could be a problem in the arena, Dara.

  9. Tromos

    And shortly after these become ubiquitous...

    ...we can expect the first Autonomous Mugger Robot

  10. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    How big are these things? That looks like something you'd trip over. And how is it going to get through my gate and up my steps to my door, and how is it going to ring the doorbell?

    1. ActionBeard

      Yup, I have so many questions about this. What would it do if you're not in when it calls? Does it just leave the item at your front door, or attempt to leave it in a safe place, or deliver to a neighbour?

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "How big are these things? That looks like something you'd trip over. And how is it going to get through my gate and up my steps to my door, and how is it going to ring the doorbell?"

      There's probably going to be an app for that, ie let you know it's at the gate.

    3. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      @J.G.Harston

      First thing I thought was tripping hazard. I recall vividly the time we took the Eurostar to go Snowboarding, so I navigated the London Underground, with my wheelie boardbag. It has reflective stripes down the sides, and a hairy headbanger at the front, but it was amazing how many people managed to trip over it,.... almost completely people using their cellphone while walking.

      So this little fella in a busy urban environment, surrounded by distracted pedestrians rushing to get somewhere,.... fun times.

  11. Not Enough Coffee

    More stupid auto-delivery crap. How about developing a 3D food printer? That would take care of it all.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      FAIL

      3D food printer

      How about developing a 3D food printer? That would take care of it all.

      Except for the bit where it needs to be supplied with ingredients.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: 3D food printer

        With an autochef you simply feed in any nearby convenient protein sources....

    2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Almost certainly

      too slow for food delivery. Might be useful for sending things around relatively uncrowded campuses but anywhere else they're likely to be kicked to the kerb, literally.

  12. Garry Perez

    its.........

    Dusty fucking bin!!! !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: its.........

      Garry Perez,

      Exactly my 1st thought !!!

      Dusty Bin has been hiding somewhere working on his CV and now can deliver packages. :)

      Delivery by 'Dusty Bin / Postmate' will have to be very cheap to balance out the compulsory 'very expensive Insurance' to cover late/none delivery.

    2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: its.........

      @Garry Perez

      .. customers should have to solve a really cryptic riddle before it will unlock and hand over the prize,... I mean order.

  13. RedCardinal

    Kiwibot delivery robot catches fire after 'human error'

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-46593190

  14. Dwarf Silver badge

    Has it got a self righting mechanism ?

    Can't see how it would recover well when it falls over, if for example someone were to give it a shove.

    What about all the normal obstacles that people have to deal with - gates, steps, ramps, muddy paths, etc.

    It also looks like the sort of thing that Dogs would really like to claim as theirs with a little squirt.

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