by: Candy Rodriguez
Posted:Jun 14, 2021 / 06:55 AM CDT /
Updated:Jun 14, 2021 / 08:09 AM CDT
Starting Monday, robots are making deliveries along South Congress and downtown under the supervision of the Austin Transportation Department. (Screenshot from video courtesy Austin Transportation Department)
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Robots will roll through Austin starting Monday making food deliveries in the South Congress area and throughout downtown.
Austin Transportation Department officials say the company behind the robots, Refraction AI, will launch a fleet of 10 robots.
ATD officials add the robots will travel in the bike lane unless there is not one. Then, they will travel on the main road. The robots will be monitored by a person who will travel along with the robot. Officials said it is required by state law to ensure safety.
The robots will also be remotely piloted — not automated — which means someone is able to control the robots from afar. While the robots operate in the city, local transportation officials will gather data and determine if they need to implement additional regulations.
ATD says the robots can hold up to seven grocery bags in their delivery compartment. The robots will not only deliver restaurant orders and more. Later Monday morning, the company will release the list of participating businesses in the program. Transportation officials say this could change the future of deliveries.
“I think it can really transform the mobility landscape eventually if it catches on and with enough growth, it will be able to replace some trips being taken by SOVs or single-occupancy vehicles at this time,” said Jacob Culberson, the transportation department’s division manager for mobility services.
ATD officials said anyone who has issues or questions can contact 311.