Wednesday, October 27, 2021
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US Colleges to Use Russian Robots for Food Delivery

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Russian tech giant Yandex Self-Driving Group has announced that it is partnering with online food ordering company GrubHub in delivery on US college campuses.

In a press release, the tech company revealed that it will employ driverless robots to facilitate the delivery of hot restaurant meals, especially to areas on campuses inaccessible to vehicles.

“We are delighted to deploy dozens of our rovers, taking the next step in actively commercializing our self-driving technology in different markets across the globe,” Yandex CEO Dmitry Polishchuk said.

Vice President of Corporate and Campus Partners at GrubHub, Brian Madigan, explained that some college campuses are difficult for cars to navigate, making it important for universities to remove this “major hurdle” when implementing new technology.

Yandex and GrubHub will begin rolling out delivery services using autonomous robots on select campuses this fall.

Yandex Delivery Robots

According to Yandex, its delivery rovers are capable of navigating pavement, pedestrian areas, and crosswalks. Utilizing the same state-of-the-art technology as in the company’s self-driving cars, the robots can operate during the day and at night in moderate snowfall and rain.

Delivery companies in Russia have reportedly employed Yandex rovers since 2020. Thousands of orders from restaurants and grocery stores have successfully reached customers using the technology.

As the autonomous rovers are readied for service in the US, Yandex is ensuring that they are fully integrated into the GrubHub app. This will allow customers to receive push notifications when the robots approach their destinations. Customers will also use the app to open the rovers’ hatches and retrieve their orders.

Multi-Year Partnership

Polishchuk explained that his company chose to team up with GrubHub because of its “unparalleled reach” into college campuses across the country. The online food ordering firm currently partners with more than 250 colleges, allowing many students to integrate their meal plans directly into their GrubHub accounts.

Meanwhile, Madigan pointed out that his company’s new multi-year partnership with Yandex could change how college students experience food delivery. He expressed that the company is “excited to offer these cost-effective, scalable, and quick” ordering and delivery capabilities to colleges that are looking to adapt to students’ unique dining needs.

Director of Strategic Partnerships at GrubHub, Sean Ir, also states that the company recognizes the need for best-in-class technology, resources, and scale to meet the demands of clients. “Yandex was the clear choice, and together we will serve colleges and universities across the country better than ever before,” he stressed.

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