Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Whoa: spotted a new food delivery robot outside at Meridian Hill Park

This is crazy: a few months ago it was reported that food delivery company Postmates would start using rolling drones to deliver food in DC and in Silicon Valley, and today I spotted one.

I ran into the little guy and his minder on Florida Avenue near 16th and it continued up 16th past Meridian Hill Park. The last we heard, they were testing them in the 20009 zip code, which runs from roughly Connecticut Avenue east to 11th Street NW and Irving Street south to R Street NW.

The minder makes sure it's doing ok, but it seemed pretty fine on its own -- it stops at crosswalks, avoids obstacles and seemed to stop a few other times, but I couldn't tell if that was the minder doing that or something else. At the beginning of the video I took, you can see it pausing at a bush, then speeds up to go around it.

Everybody who passed it seemed interested, especially a group of little kids with their day care teacher out on a stroll.

The robots are about two feet by three feet and drive around on four wheels, and have a little flag which I presume is an antenna. They're made by a company called Starship, appropriately.

Pretty wild.

Here's a shot of it from their Instagram.

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