Burgers and fries delivered by robo-car.
Stranger things happened in Las Vegas. This year, at the CES Technology Show, an AutoX car demonstrated its autonomous driving skills by delivering hamburgers to the convention center.
The company based in San Jose, California, began delivering supplies with cars equipped with modified rear seats to keep products fresh and unharmed. Later, he joined some restaurants in Silicon Valley.
For CES this year, the delivery service found an Applebee's nearby and sent its test cars with a data feed to show the congress how the delivery process was going. Once the car picked up the food about 3 km away, some reporters, celebrities and myself could eat hamburgers and slightly moist fries. (It was always the delivery, after all – it can not compete with the food in a restaurant.) It must have looked delicious, because someone at the convention center stopped to ask me where I had it.)
Normally, of course, AutoX users place orders via an app, instead of asking someone to order their food for them. Then the car goes from the restaurant or grocery store to the customer's home.
I drove with the CEO, Jianxiong Xiao, in a light green AutoX car: a modified Lincoln MKZ equipped with AutoX software and hardware. Even though it was not a delivery route, we drove near the convention center to find out what a standalone trip looks like. The company was initially focused on using high-resolution cameras to let vehicles "see" but now uses a mixture of LiDAR and radar sensors to measure the distance between objects.
Even though it is only food at the back, AutoX is required to have a safety driver. During the trip, he was watching the road closely, his hands above the steering wheel.
While AutoX was busy bucking hamburgers at CES, Chinese research company Baidu announced that its autonomous platform was piloting Udelv delivery vans. The autonomous company will use Baidu's self-driving software for 100 commercial vehicles, which will place orders in the United States from the end of the year.
The Apollo 3.5 from Baidu will power the autonomous vans. It has been updated this week to help vehicles better manage turns, speed bumps, narrow lanes and unprotected car parks.
This week was important for California-based Udelv, which works in partnership with Walmart for stand-alone grocery deliveries in Arizona.
Now there are so many ways to get food and groceries delivered that we will never have to leave the couch again.