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We Tried To Rob A Delivery Robot

Robots are the future of food delivery, and the temptation to steal from them is real.

Posted on April 3, 2017, at 6:01 p.m. ET

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There are delivery robots now roaming the streets of Northern California.

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And we tried to steal from one!

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DoorDash, a food delivery company, is experimenting with robot deliveries in Redwood City, CA.

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If you request food from DoorDash, you might see this little bot show up at your house.

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Only you can unlock the bot via a link sent to your phone.

The bot can fit up to 22 pounds of food in its insulated compartment. That's enough to fill three shopping bags.

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Cameras at the front and rear of the bot. They're used to help steer the bot remotely.

Doordash hopes to make its delivery bots completely autonomous in the future. In the meantime, human pilots operate them wirelessly from a remote office.
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Doordash hopes to make its delivery bots completely autonomous in the future. In the meantime, human pilots operate them wirelessly from a remote office.

The bot can detect and navigate around obstacles. It can also climb curbs!

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We wondered what would happen if someone tried to steal food from the bot – so we tried.

Allyson Laquian

During his first attempt, Alex wasn’t able to open the bot. So he picked it up instead.

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A second attempt was far more successful.

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(Don’t try this at home.)

Henry Harris-Burland of Starship Technologies said future versions of the bot will have alarms to prevent theft. He also noted that every robot records its live location via GPS.

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That means if you do plan on stealing from a bot, you might be tracked, and your face could be recorded by its cameras.

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These robots are supposed to work alongside human "Dashers" — DoorDash's delivery people.

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This DoorDash employee wasn’t too thrilled about the idea.

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DoorDash co-founder Stanley Tang explained that delivery bots are complementary to human Dashers.

"They can cover the short distance small orders that human Dashers don’t want to take on,” said Tang.
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"They can cover the short distance small orders that human Dashers don’t want to take on,” said Tang.

Because of local regulations, you probably aren’t going to see delivery bots taking over the streets just yet.

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The companies managing the robots will need to obtain permits and licensing from every county they operate in.

In the future, robots and humans walking alongside one another might be as common as a person walking their dog.

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Whether dogs and robots get along, however, that’s another thing altogether.

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