Robots will hit the streets with food delivery orders from Marble, a San Francisco startup that is partnering with Yelp to navigate crowded city streets and deliver your order before it gets cold.
Marble’s robots are about waist-height, a bit larger than the dog-sized models of its competitor Starship. They’re also brimming with technology borrowed from self-driving cars. Each Marble delivery bot—there are a few of them cruising the streets of San Francisco’s Mission and Potrero Hill neighborhoods—includes lidar, cameras, and ultrasonic sensors to monitor their surroundings. The company says it plans to map the majority of San Francisco’s sidewalks over the coming year. Visitors and San Francisco residents can order delivery from Yelp’s Eat24 app for a chance to be served by a Marble bot. If you’re selected, you’ll be offered the opportunity to accept the service, and the restaurant will then pack your order into one of the robots’ cargo bays. Once it arrives, you’ll enter an access code to unlock your breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Last month, Starship also began delivering pizza from Domino’s locations in Germany and the Netherlands. If those trials are successful, Domino’s could expand the service to more of its 2,000+ stores worldwide.