Robots hit the streets as demand for food delivery grows

National and World
Robot food delivery in Michigan

A food delivery robot crosses a street in Ann Arbor, Mich. on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. Robot food delivery is no longer the stuff of science fiction. Hundreds of little robots __ knee-high and able to hold around four large pizzas __ are now navigating college campuses and even some city sidewalks in the U.S., the U.K. and elsewhere. While robots were being tested in limited numbers before the coronavirus hit, the companies building them say pandemic-related labor shortages and a growing preference for contactless delivery have accelerated their deployment. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Robot food delivery is no longer the stuff of science fiction.

Hundreds of little robots — knee-high and able to hold around four large pizzas — are now navigating college campuses and even some city sidewalks in the U.S., the U.K. and elsewhere.

While robots were being tested in limited numbers before the coronavirus hit, companies say pandemic-related labor shortages and a growing preference for contactless delivery have vastly accelerated their deployment.

Grubhub recently teamed up with Russian robot maker Yandex to operate 50 delivery robots on the campus of Ohio State University. Grubhub says more campuses could be added soon.

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