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Grab Runner 2021: Grab pilots robot runner service for mix-and-match deliveries

By Liu Hongzuo - on 19 May 2021, 4:53pm

Grab Runner 2021: Grab pilots robot runner service for mix-and-match deliveries

"And beige-brown milk tea began to spin, a system of pearls interlinked within pearls interlinked within pearls interlinked within one cup, and dreadfully distinct against the dark, a tall bubble tea straw stood," - Grab Runner reciting its baseline, probably.

Do robots dream of shopping in a mall? Grab answers that question by running a new pilot programme. Grab's latest robot runners are designed to reduce the time taken for collecting mix-and-match delivery orders - by up to 15 minutes.

Ever since Grab started accepting mix-and-match delivery orders that pack several purchases from different stores within a single mall, the one(ish) year-old service's demand has grown just enough for order collection to become a challenge for Grab's delivery riders. It doesn't help that today's order collection may involve additional steps for riders, such as checking in via SafeEntry at every single outlet in the same venue.

The latest Grab pilot project seeks to use its technology to manage logistical and logical workflow for delivery personnel while helping to minimise close contact instances to improve both riders' and store assistants' chances of staying healthy and safe. Also, the project aims to reduce delivery time taken, and help delivery partners get more orders completed within a day.

“As a tech platform that serves consumers, merchants and delivery riders, we are continually seeking innovative solutions that can improve the overall delivery experience for all parties. It is a fine balance to achieve, and we believe that advanced technologies such as AI can help us do this well. The food delivery landscape is evolving very fast, and the possibilities for innovation are endless. I am thankful that Lendlease shares the same hunger to break new ground through deep tech and has been extremely supportive of this pilot. I believe it will give us good learnings for future iterations, and we look forward to having more partners experiment and trial new solutions with us,” said Yee Wee Tang, Managing Director, Grab Singapore.

As mentioned in the quote, Grab is working on robot runners with real estate company Lendlease, and the first mall for Grab's robotic delivery collection is none other than Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ) Mall.

The robot was designed with the help of Techmetic Robotics, and it packs the ability to learn about its surroundings for maximum efficiency through built-in AI. It's also fitted with safety features, e.g. LIDAR sensors to detect obstacles, and a voice assistant that notifies cumbersome humans of its all-important presence. The food cart component of the robot comes with a combination lock for heightened hygiene and tamper prevention - only participating merchants can access it.

For now, Grab's robot runner is expected to serve up to 35 GrabFood and GrabMart merchants within Basement Two of PLQ Mall, with up to 250 orders per day. The pilot will last for one month before Grab reviews its feasibility for further use in other locations.

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