What do you tip a robot?
In the age of automation, machines are replacing humans in everything from coal mining to dipsensing medical advice.
The trend may one day hold true for food delivery.
Digital Trends reported that London-based Starship Technologies is partnering with food delivery services Postmates in Washington D.C. and DoorDash in Redwood City, Calif., to help takeout junkies get their fix faster than if a human was to deliver their meal.
“DoorDash and Postmates are championing on-demand local delivery, sharing Starship’s vision to save customers time and money,” Ahti Heinla, CEO and co-founder of Starship Technologies, told the website.
Starship’s bots -- being tested in the nation's capital and Northern California in "the next few weeks"-- can navigate sidewalks on their own while towing takeout in their trunks from restaurants to homes. They can carry up to 20 pounds, too. Hungry humans need only to press a button to retrieve their meals, Digital Trends reported.
Although the bots deliver only within a 2-mile radius and can travel upwards of 4 mph — to keep pedestrians safe, the company says — some executives in the industry, like DoorDash co-founder Stanley Tang, have high hopes for their ability to revolutionize the entire food delivery process.
“While other companies trying to play catch up in the delivery space either ignore the law or chase ideas like drones that lack the infrastructure to be implemented, we’re excited to be bringing autonomous deliveries to customers in weeks rather than years,” Stanley, also chief product officer at DoorDash, told Digital Trends.