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Food delivery robots hit the streets of Washington

Six-wheeled robots use sensors to navigate city streets and sidewalks

Some hungry customers in Washington, D.C. may be surprised to discover a robot is delivering their pastrami on rye.

The delivery service Postmates is using knee-high, six-wheeled robots to bring takeout food and groceries to customers. The robots use sensors and cameras to navigate sidewalks and cross the street. Initially, the robots will be accompanied by a person, but eventually their progress will be monitored remotely.

Postmates says it’s the first service of its kind in the United States.

Customers put their orders in online and once the robot arrives, they get a text with a code to unlock it and grab their food.

Postmates already uses human couriers to deliver food and goods in scores of cities. The robots are made by Starship Technologies.

According to Post & Parcel, Postmates CEO Bastian Lehmann told audiences at a 2015 TechCrunch Disruption conference that the company was looking expand beyond the U.S. and into Canada Q1 of the following year. The service, however, is still not available in Canada.

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