That R2D2-ish delivery robot on wheels that we first told you about last spring, from a startup called Dispatch, has recently been spotted testing in the Mission and the "learning the sidewalks" of the 'hood, as Mission Local reports, complete with human handlers keeping a close eye. The name of the machine is Carry (clever?), and after testing on two local college campuses last year Menlo College and CSU Monterey Bay it appears ready to get its wheels wet, so to speak, on some city streets.
It's unclear when actual deliveries might start, or who Dispatch is even partnering with in terms of what it will be delivering (one of the human handlers said something about ice cream to Mission Local). But can we just speculate how soon one of these Carries will get kicked over by a drunk person/angry homeless person/militant anti-tech person once they're actually dispatched on the sidewalks without human handlers? All investor talk aside about how much cheaper this is than drone delivery systems, how annoying will it be having to weave around these rolling boxes on our already crowded sidewalks if and when we actually have to deal with them on the daily?
You can't easily steal what's inside, however the robot only gets unlocked and pops open via an app.
Based in South San Francisco, Dispatch has three co-founders you can learn about here, and they've raised $2 million in seed funding from the likes of Andreeson Horowitz and others. And they're not the only startup trying to make it first to market in this wheeled-robot-delivery space a competitor, Starship, partnered with Postmates and was testing on the sidewalks of the Richmond last fall, and appears to have rolled out some of its first deliveries in DC this week, as seen in a tweet below.
Prepare for this next AI invasion and the inevitable backlash and angry letters from the City Attorney and fight over permitting, etc. any month now.
Previously: R2D2 Robot Things Want To Deliver You Stuff