First we heard about how Kroger wants to use self-driving cars to deliver groceries.
Now, self-guided robots are bringing college kids their brain food.
Here’s what’s going on at The University of the Pacific in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Students order snacks from Snackbot using a mobile app.
The robot is stuffed with products from PepsiCo’s fresh/health-oriented Hello Goodness brand — stuff such as LIFEWTR, Pure Leaf Tea, Baked Lay’s and SunChips.
Students can order between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and pick up their orders at one of 50 predetermined pickup locations around campus.
Prices are fairly reasonable for robotic delivery.
A 500mL bottle of Bubly sparkling water costs just $1.62 with the Snackbot app, while Pure Leaf Iced Tea will run you $2.38, and a bag of SunChips cost $1.29.
There are 3-5 Snackbots roaming the university.
And they can buzz around the college at up to 6 mph for more than 20 miles on one charge. Outfitted with a camera, headlights and all-wheel drive, the Snackbot can navigate curbs, inclines and pretty much any weather situation. If you walk in front of it, it’ll stop.
Snackbot weighs 80 pounds and is less than 3 feet tall.
It’s not fully autonomous, though — humans eventually have to intervene to replace batteries and replenish products.
Snackbot is a partnership between PepsiCo, a robotics company and the university.
Think of it like a smart mobile vending machine. And, from all reports, Snackbot — created by Bay Area robotics company Robby Technologies — is the first self-driving robot delivering products in the U.S., backed by a consumer products company.
Hello Goodness, up to now, has been a revenue-boosting healthy foods-only vending machine initiative by PepsiCo. The company has said it aims to push the envelope on vending technology with initiatives like the Snackbot.
No Snackbot? No problem. Hello Goodness is available online.
Hello Goodness has offered curated boxes filled with 30 of its products on Amazon since early 2018 — a test project that made people at Pepsi very excited.
They also set up a Hello Goodness store on Amazon that performed nearly 45 percent better than similar PepsiCo campaigns.
You might even check Amazon’s Prime Now to get your quick fix for Tropicana, Naked juice, Lipton tea, Sabra hummus and more.