Who are they ?
Kiwi Campus, commonly referred to as Kiwi, is a Colombian-owned startup company that originated in Colombia, and later moved to California to expand its business. Felipe Chavez, the CEO of the company, decided to substitute human couriers with robots to lower delivery costs and increase efficiency. KiwiBots were first launched in UC Berkeley in 2017.
What is it ?
The Kiwi campus is located near the University of Berkley and offers food delivery with robots (called KiwiBots) for campus colleges. The company also delivers to parts of the city of Berkeley and on the Stanford Universitycampus in Palo Alto. Since the company started in 2017, it has made more than 90,000 deliveries.
How does it work ?
At first they tried using a single robot for the entire distance between restaurant and delivery, but found that inefficient. Kiwi uses now three kinds of robots: one to collect prepared orders from the restaurant, one with semi-autonomous tricycle in which orders are sorted, and a small four-wheeled “Kiwibot”, which can carry up to five orders. The delivey robots have six cameras and binocular vision for navigation and are largely autonomous but human operators at the company’s center in Bogotá take control when needed, such as when crossing streets.
What do we think about it ?
They may be quick, the company claims an average delivery time of 22 minutes, but they are not always efficient. Sometimes they miss a step, and stumble, sometimes they land at the wrong door. We may not be sure about their efficiency but they are a hit with students of the university of Berkley and with their digitally animated eyes, they surely are cute and laughable.