Pizza lovers in parts of Austin, Texas, can now have their pies delivered via robot.
The three-wheeled, self-driving REV-1 is the product of Refraction AI, an Ann Arbor, Mich., autonomous vehicle startup. Refraction AI says it is partnering with Southside Flying Pizza, which has multiple locations in Austin.
"Our expansion into Austin marks another step in our vision to transform last-mile delivery into a ubiquitous, accessible, sustainable service that anyone can take part in," Refraction AI CEO Luke Schneider said in a statement, adding that he believes current solutions for on-demand delivery "are broken," with businesses and households having a hard time keeping up with rising fees while "profitability remains elusive for even the biggest players."
Customers who order from participating restaurants can opt to have their food dropped off by an REV-1. Refraction AI is touting entirely contactless delivery: After placing an order, the customer receives text message updates on the delivery's status. The customer is notified when the REV-1 arrives at the curb and then unlocks the robot with a four-digit code received via another text.
The REV-1 is roughly the size of a human on a bicycle. It can reach a speed of 15 mph and has 16 cubic feet of cargo capacity, enough room for about six grocery bags, according to Refraction AI.
The robots primarily travel in bike lanes or on the sides of roads. But Refraction AI says they can scoot through traffic lanes and traverse sidewalks "as needed."