Postmates received a permit to test a delivery robot in San Francisco

Delivery robots will soon be back in San Francisco. Postmates has officially received the green signal to test its four-wheeled, cart-like delivery robot on the streets of San Francisco.

The San Francisco-based on-demand delivery startup that transports goods and food from retailers to consumers via bike and vehicle was expecting the permit to come through shortly after a conditional approval. The permit, issued by the Department of Public Works in San Francisco on Wednesday, doesn’t cover the entire city. The delivery cart is only allowed to operate in an industrial area of the city. Also, the company can test only three robots at a time, with a maximum speed of up to 3 mph.

The deliveries can only take place between 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., Monday to Friday and a human operator has to be there within 30 feet of the vehicles during all the tests, according to media reports.

Postmates’ cooler-inspired autonomous delivery robot called Serve was unveiled last December. It can cart as much as 50 pounds of goods and travel as much as 30 miles before needing a charge. Serve has a lockable cargo container and screen-based user interface for autonomous deliveries to customers. Designed to work alongside humans, the robot runs on electricity and moves at walking speed.

While it is yet unclear what type of packages the robot will deliver, it’s unlikely that the new recruit will soon replace large numbers of human couriers, according to news reports.

Marble, a robot delivery startup of San Francisco, has also applied for a permit to test its robot in the city.

Many cities argued that unmanned delivery robots or devices cause accidents and negatively impact pedestrian access to city streets. But still, the competitive field of these delivery bots is growing continuously, with many companies are entering into the market.


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