US food giant PepsiCo is using a fleet of autonomous robots to deliver snacks and drinks to students at the University of the Pacific in California.
The six-wheeled snackbots are a collaboration between PepsiCo and Bay Area startup Robby Technologies, which developed the underlying vehicle technology. Students across the 175-acre campus will be able to order snacks and drinks from PepsiCo’s Hello Goodness range from 9am to 5pm using a smartphone app. The robots, which can travel up to 20 miles on a single charge, will liaise with students at 50 designated drop-off areas to deliver the snacks.
“We’re thrilled to launch our Hello Goodness autonomous delivery snackbots and reimagine college snacking for the future,” said Scott Finlow, vice president Innovation and Insights, PepsiCo Foodservice. “PepsiCo has a unique opportunity to better serve today’s ambitious college students, by joining together the power of the Hello Goodness portfolio with our expertise in design and equipment innovation.”
Similar in design to the Starship Technologies robots seen on UK streets and previously featured by The Engineer, the snackbots are equipped with a camera and headlights that allow it to see and navigate in full darkness or rain, as well as all-wheel-drive capabilities for handling curbs and steep hills. In order to access the app, users must have a University of the Pacific email address. Products in the Hello Goodness range that students can choose from include Smartfood Delight, Baked Lay’s, SunChips, Pure Leaf Tea, bubly, LIFEWTR and Starbucks Cold Brew. The range is part of PepsiCo’s move to diversify from snacks and drinks high in sugar and fat and give consumers a wider choice of healthier options.
“We’re thrilled to welcome snackbot to our campus, along with its convenient and nourishing options,” said Matt Camino, director of e-Commerce at the University of the Pacific. “This innovative technology from PepsiCo is enhancing campus life for our students, staff and faculty alike, who have embraced this new way of snacking.”