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GrubHub’s push into college campuses includes Russian-made delivery bots

Grubhub will start implementing the delivery robots this fall.

grubhub yandex delivery robot
Image: GrubHub

This fall, Russian self-driving delivery bots will be invading college campuses. If that sounds like a storyline straight out of science fiction, well, it’s a science fact thanks to a multi-year partnership between GrubHub and Russian tech giant Yandex.

The partnership aims to put robotic lunchboxes on over 250 campuses across the US, starting with dozens this fall. The robots will be operated by Yandex, Russia’s alternative to Google, and they’ll be in charge of the delivery process as well. GrubHub is providing the ordering platform, giving the robots a large selection of restaurants to deliver from.

GrubHub is happy about the potential cost savings for using autonomous robots to deliver, which is pretty on-brand for a company that hijacked restaurant details to charge commission fees and said it would suspend commission fees early on in the pandemic, only to revise their offer to say those fees would still need to be paid back eventually.

Then again, using autonomous delivery robots on campuses will slow down any potential COVID-19 spread, so maybe we can give them kudos for one thing, even if their business model is fairly reprehensible.

The delivery robots drive at three to five miles an hour and are adapted to deal with the car-free areas of college campuses, like pavements, crosswalks, and pedestrian-only areas. The GrubHub app fully tracks their progress and lets the customer know when it’s outside, so they can go and pick up their food from the robot’s hatch.

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