Kiwibot, a robotic delivery service, has announced that it is expanding its operations to 4 new cities in the US. The company’s partnership with John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports this development of the Services.
Kiwibot will expand operations in the four cities-San Jose, Miami-Dade County, Pittsburgh, and Detroit. Each of the four cities will receive up to ten robots with one personal supervisor, allowing Kiwibot’s last-mile delivery network to make more efficient and cost-effective deliveries across these urban zones.
The pilot projects will enable cities to learn how to deploy the best emerging mobility technologies that can equitably serve the public while also providing a sustainable business model for private sector companies like Kiwibot. Earlier, Kiwibot has partnered with Sodexo to offer food-delivery services at the university campuses.
The pilot use cases selected range from small local business deliveries to community kitchens working with vulnerable populations and increasing access to pharmacies and library books. During 2020, some services that will replicate and scale the successful program were implemented in San Jose.
Others arose from Kiwibot’s Love Date Robots campaign, encouraging public engagement and open interactions with robots for individuals, small businesses, and community organizations.
Kiwibot and the Knight Foundation have collaborated with these cities to place residents at the center of autonomous technology pilot projects to increase opportunities for locally-owned businesses and provide more equitable access to food, medication, and other goods. They also want to make sure that robots are deployed in areas where they can safely interact with pedestrians, bicycles, and vehicles.
By mapping areas and collecting sidewalk and infrastructure data using the Mobility Data Specifications (MDS) framework and an automated data collection system, these pilots contribute to Kiwibot’s goal of becoming a self-sustaining public service.
Furthermore, cities may spend up to $40 billion over 30 years repairing curbs, ramps, and sidewalks to align with Vision Zero (VZ) efforts – to eliminate all traffic deaths and prevent fatalities – and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Kiwibot’s robots could eventually streamline these processes by sharing data about sidewalk conditions and vehicle and pedestrian traffic with city authorities, making US cities more accessible and safer, especially for the one in every four Americans who have a disability.
Kiwibot’s robots inside the four cities have already traveled 1,455 miles, mapped 368 miles, and added 20,000 information points to town and county administration since June 2021. The collaboration has been closed for 268 robotic dates and deliveries.