San Francisco-based on-demand delivery company, Postmates, announced this week an in-house developed, first-of-its-kind delivery rover. The rover, called Serve, will provide autonomous delivery services and boast what Postmates’ Serve Team calls “socially aware navigation”. The rover is able to carry 50 lbs and will have a range of 30 miles.
The rover was designed over the past two years, with the design team analyzing millions of postmates deliveries and customer interactions in order to create Serve. "We realized we are in a unique position to create an autonomous delivery vehicle with socially aware navigation that understands how to navigate cities while meeting specific customer needs," said Bastian Lehmann, co-founder & CEO of Postmates.
"We took a design-first approach with Serve that walks alongside people and fits into our communities. We were able to use data to model how food and goods could move around cities even more efficiently when rovers join our existing fleet of more than 350,000 Postmates. Ultimately, we believe that goods should move through cities at nearly zero cost to consumers."
The Serve rover has sensors manufactured by Velodyne Lidar, and a processor from the NVIDIA XAVIER range. Customers interact with the rover via cameras and a touchscreen, and Serve uses dynamic lighting resembling eyes to signal changes in direction to oncoming pedestrians.
"One thing we learned early on is that we need to develop a language for rovers and humans to understand each other's intentions," continued Lehmann. "We have developed a specific rover-human interface so that people understand what rovers are doing at any moment."
Postmates Serve will begin operating in Los Angeles in Q1 2019.