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Singapore to Pilot First Indoor Robot Runner Service

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A Singaporean multinational tech company announced a pilot robot runner service at Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ) Mall. The robot runner will help to consolidate orders across several restaurants within the mall before handing them off to delivery partners at a central collection point for last-mile delivery. Through this pilot service, it is projected that the company’s delivery partners may shave off between five to fifteen minutes of the usual time taken to navigate shopping malls and collect each order.

Since the company introduced the mix-and-match feature to several malls last year, it has grown in popularity with consumers as they get to order from different restaurants within a mall and pay just one delivery fee. However, with the number of such orders increasing, delivery partners have found themselves requiring more time to manoeuvre their way through the crowd to locate multiple restaurants within the mall. This pilot aims to improve the delivery experience by reducing the overall delivery time, and potentially enable delivery partners to fulfil more orders per day.

The robot runner is designed in partnership with a robotics tech developer who specialises in designing a wide range of autonomous mobile robots. The robot runner will have the ability to learn about its surroundings through artificial intelligence (AI) and optimise for maximum efficiency. It also comes fitted with safety features such as built-in Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) sensors to detect incoming obstacles, an automated voice message that alerts shoppers of its presence and the capability to scan and monitor its immediate proximity in real-time to avoid sudden obstacles and prevent a collision. As hygiene is of utmost importance, the food cart on the robot runner will come fitted with a combination lock. The combination will be given only to participating merchants and the staff manning the collection point, to prevent tampering by passers-by.

With a central location for its riders to pick up orders and the use of technology to manage logistics workflow, the PLQ mall will be able to minimise people-to-people contact and do their part to safeguard the well-being of riders, tenants and customers. The mall is also working towards a longer-term collaboration with the tech company to meet the demands of customers and improve shopping experiences, said the General Manager of the Paya Lebar Quarter.

As a tech platform that serves consumers, merchants and delivery riders, the tech company is continually seeking innovative solutions that can improve the overall delivery experience for all parties. It is a fine balance to achieve and they believe that advanced technologies such as AI can help them do this well. The food delivery landscape is evolving very fast and the possibilities for innovation are endless, said the tech giant. The tech company is also thankful that the business hub shares the same hunger to break new ground through deep tech and has been extremely supportive of this pilot.

During the pilot phase, the robot runner will potentially serve up to 35 merchants in basement two of PLQ Mall and ferry approximately more than 250 orders per day. For a start, the tech company’s staff will guide the robot runner on its ideal route. This will allow it to learn, adapt and function effectively in a controlled setting. The pilot is expected to last for one month and the tech company will review its performance and viability before expanding this service to other locations.

Similarly, as reported by OpenGov Asia, as the pandemic propels restaurants and other businesses to keep their distance from customers, a Shanghai-based robotics firm also looks to bring its automated helpers to Singapore and other markets across the globe. The robotic servers wait by the kitchen for meals to come out. Staffers load them up and tell them which tables to go to via touchscreen. Then they roll off, deftly avoiding obstacles in their way.

The AI company focuses on indoor intelligent service robot, in the field of indoor autonomous d and providing intelligent unmanned delivery solutions. They have developed a variety of commercial service robots to meet different customers requirement. Their products are mainly applied in fields such as catering, medical care, hotels, entertainment, retail, venues, government affairs, offices, real estate, communities, banking, posts, finance, insurance, airports, stations, etc.


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