Rappi launches delivery robots, is it outmaneuvering iFood?

rappi launches delivery robots, is it outmaneuvering ifood?
rappi launches delivery robots, is it outmaneuvering ifood?

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Contxto – Logistics startup Rappi is adding new members to its delivery team. But these additions are different from your typical rappitendero. For one they travel on four wheels rather than two. And rather than carrying the startup’s bright orange backpack, these newbies have it built into their bods.

Oh, and they’re not human.

As of late, these robots have been making their way through the city of Medellín carrying out deliveries. And thanks to the partnership between Rappi with fellow Colombian startup Kiwibot, that this pilot project was made possible.

The pilot test is being carried out in the El Poblado area of the city. Likewise, it’s reported that the pair have launched a delivery fleet with 15 bots. And they aren’t idle workers, on average these robo-deliverers are handling 120 requests per day. The test is programmed to continue until July 8.

Based on these results, Rappi may expand this new service to other cities where it operates.

Rappi and Kiwibot robots versus coronavirus

No doubt Rappi’s human deliverers are not only overloaded with work, they’re also exposed to coronavirus (Covid-19) infection, and as a result so are consumers. And so as to avoid person-to-person transmissions of the bug, the logistics startup decided to move forward with the launch of this pilot project. 

That’s also why the bots are disinfected before and after each delivery. Moreover, these robots only deliver for restaurants that accept electronic payments. 

Users are randomly chosen and offered the option of accepting a delivery from these bots. So it’s probably a first-time experience for them too. What’s more it’s something they’ll likely talk about with friends and family. So that’s extra publicity coming Rappi’s way.

“To imagine deliveries via robots seemed like a distant thing just a few years ago,” mused Matías Laks, Country Manager in Rappi Colombia. “And now to make it a reality in our country files us with great pride.”

Psh, who says you need to travel outside of Latam to see last-mile robots on the streets à la Amazon?

Why it’s a big deal: Hygienic, heart-warming, and futuristic as all of this sounds, it’s also likely a strategic move on  Rappi’s part.

Let’s not forget that just over a week ago, Brazilian iFood and Domicilios.com teamed up to tackle the food delivery market in Colombia. What’s more, in late 2019, iFood had announced its plans to experiment with robot and drone deliveries.

So perhaps Rappi wants to beat it to the punch in its home turf.

Let the unicorn rumble continue.

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Or, if you wanna hear more about this food delivery showdown, I highly recommend you check out this episode of our podcast: “Las oportunidades se multiplican a medida que se aprovechan.”

You can find the time stamp in the description 😉

Related articles: Tech and startups from Colombia!


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