Stuck in your dorm room studying but craving a salty or sweet snack? Well, as they say, there’s an app for that, and on one California university campus, that app powers an autonomous robot that trundles around campus, delivering snacks as a new semester gets underway.
On Thursday, PepsiCo unveiled its “snackbot” at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. The company says it’s the first time a major food and beverage company has rolled out a delivery robot. PepsiCo’s Hello Goodness, the company’s vending brand, provides the delivery robots with a wide range of snacks, including items such as SunChips and Starbucks Cold Brew coffee. San Francisco Bay Area startup Robby Technologies designed the fleet of six-wheeled robots.
And while snack delivery is only available during normal business hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., (pep) PepsiCo’s all-wheel-drive delivery bots have headlights and built-in cameras to help them steer over hills and through any inclement conditions that may arise. Each delivery robot can run for 20 miles on a single charge, which should cover the needs of plenty of students and staffers across the 175-acre campus.
These types of delivery robots have caused some controversy in certain cities in the past, but some states have welcomed delivery robots for tasks such as grocery drop-off. There’s also been some chatter about the future of self-driving vehicles delivering pizzas. For now, though, let’s see if this one can drop off some cookies to college students without too much trouble.