Marble Delivery Robots Working for Yelp Eat24 in San Francisco
Yelp Eat24 is testing Marble's delivery robots in two San Francisco neighborhoods. Marble's delivery robots are over four feet tall, travel 3-4 MPH and hold up to four grocery bags at a time.
Marble delivery robots are being tested by Yelp Eat24 in San Francisco’s Mission and Potrero Hill areas. This is the first partnership for Marble, a San Francisco-based startup, which also announced a $4 million in seed funding led by Eclipse and including Maven Ventures, Amplify Partners and Lemnos Labs.
Marble’s delivery robots, which are much bigger and not as sleek as its competitors, are powered by NVIDIA Jetson TX1 AI supercomputers to navigate to customers. The delivery robots use AI, Lidar and computer vision to detect people, cars, or other objects along their route.
The delivery robots map the city’s sidewalks to determine the best travel routes and improve food delivery times. Marble plans to map the majority of San Francisco’s sidewalks in the coming year.
Typical deliveries will be about one mile. But because Marble delivery robots are in a testing phase, the deliveries are only semi-autonomous. A Marble employee will accompany the delivery robot to ensure all goes well. The robots will be fully autonomous in the future.
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The four-wheeled robot is over four feet tall, travels 3-4 MPH and can hold up to four grocery bags. Marble will eventually build temperature control into its delivery robots, but for now Marble uses Yelp Eat24’s “heat bags” to keep food warm.
“We are always looking for innovative new ways to give diners what they want: efficient and affordable food delivery,” says Shalin Sheth, Head of Delivery Operations at Yelp Eat24. “Marble’s robots help Yelp Eat24 restaurants better serve their communities and we’re excited to enhance the delivery experience for customers and be able to serve a larger market.”
Marble Delivery Robots Service: How it Works
Only five restaurants—DOSA on Valencia, Truly Mediterranean, Aslam’s Rasoi, or Alhamra—are currently participating in Yelp Eat24’s robot delivery test, but Marble expects more will sign up. People living in eligible neighborhoods need to use the Yelp Eat24 app to order from a participating restaurant. They’ll then receive a text message asking them to opt-in to the delivery robot test.
The restaurants place their meals into the cargo bays of the Marble delivery robots to send on their way. Once the food is delivery, the delivery robot heads back to Marble’s office or another restaurant.
“With the rapid growth of the on-demand and e-commerce markets, solving the last mile delivery problem is incredibly important,” says Greg Reichow, General Partner at Eclipse. “The existing solution of using 3000lb fossil fuel burning, urban-congesting cars does not scale.”
Marble Delivery Robots Team
Prior to founding Marble, co-founders Matt Delaney, Jason Calaiaro, and Kevin Peterson met at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute where they worked on the original self-driving cars during the DARPA Grand and Urban Challenges.
They also developed autonomous space robots and lunar landers for notable competitions including the Google Lunar XPrize and NASA Regolith Excavation Challenge. They reunited in 2015 to engineer the what is now Marble’s delivery robots.
“We’re creating a more efficient, reliable, and affordable way for people to receive what they need and want from their cities while reducing urban congestion and carbon footprint,” says CEO and co-founder Delaney. “Our system bolsters local commerce and unlocks the full potential of the on-demand economy allowing it to be something that everyone can benefit from.”