Innovation in Marketing and Operations

2021-09-02 by Jim Crickell
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The self-driving startup from Russia, Yandex, and the online food ordering company GrubHub, have started collaborating to deliver food to college campuses across the United States. This collaboration is the latest innovation, which will have hundreds of self-driving robots on six wheels basically act as food delivery trucks in various cities across the US. Although this delivery service powered by robots isn’t going to start until the fall, when college students finally return to their campuses, it’s set to be incredibly effective.

Yandex, frequently described as the Google of Russia, the company that will be operating the self-driving robot. The company will also be handling the entire process of delivering food. Meanwhile, the online food ordering company GrubHub will be functioning as the transactional platform for those deliveries. GrubHub has already created partnerships with more than two hundred college campuses across the country to make this happen.

One of the potential benefits of this collaboration between Yandex and GrubHub is the cost savings as the delivery workers are going to be eliminated from the entire equation. The GrubHub Vice President of Corporate and Campus Partners released a statement recently on the matter. The company said that it was excited to start offering scalable, cost-effective, and quick food ordering capabilities to college and university students around the US while working with Yandex on the delivery capabilities.

According to Yandex, the delivery robots are capable of navigating crosswalks, sidewalks, and other pedestrian areas to reach campus locations that aren’t accessible by other vehicles. That is precisely the type of functionality that allows the company’s robots to handle these delivery tasks which were traditionally done by employees or gig workers, while also providing efficient automation in logistics.

However, food delivery through self-driving robots isn’t a new thing in the country as there are plenty of other startups that operate in a similar fashion. For example, there are the full-sized minivans from Udelv or the delivery robot from PostMates. All of these different self-driving vehicles have been described as autonomous, but they all still require some human monitoring to be able to track their movement.

From the start of the pandemic, the demand for various self-driving or autonomous deliveries has skyrocketed, but it still remains to be seen if this demand is going to continue when the economy fully opens up. That will also be a time when fewer people will be relying on ordering meals from different restaurants.

Additionally, plenty of companies have been seeing the use of robots, or other autonomous devices or vehicles as one of the few ways that businesses can reduce labor costs while increasing profitability. In fact, just this year, another online food ordering company, DoorDash decided to acquire a salad-making robot startup. However, this one, and many other examples are still in the experimental stages of introducing these capabilities to the public, plenty of other businesses, as well as consumers, are seeing the potential of automated helpers.