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The 25 self-driving robots at LMU use GPS technology and a new autonomy platform with a high-tech satellite solution that provides high-accuracy locations for self-driving machines.

5 tech things: Kiwibot launches first self-driving food delivery robots at Loyola Marymount

This and UC Irvine introducing high-tech sustainable straws to all its campus retail dining units are some of the tech-related developments you may have missed recently.

In this special edition of its 5 Things series, Food Management highlights five recent technology-related developments affecting the foodservice world.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Kiwibot launches first self-driving food delivery robots at Loyola Marymount

For the past year, Loyola Marymount University (LMU) has been using Kiwibot robots to deliver food to students and staff, but now the company has upgraded its technology to make self-driving delivery vehicles rather than having a human control the robots to make sure everything was working properly as it made its way around the campus. The 25 self-driving robots at LMU use GPS technology and a new autonomy platform with a high-tech satellite solution that provides high-accuracy locations for self-driving machines, as well as data from camera sensors combined with AI techniques to avoid obstacles and leverage a navigation system that generates multi-kilometer routes that make it possible to reach a pre-defined goal.

Read more: Robots Enjoy Driving Alone at Marymount

  1. UC Irvine introduces high-tech sustainable straws to all campus retail dining outlets

UC Irvine Dining is introducing high-tech, environmentally sustainable AirCarbon straws to its all on-campus retail dining locations, including the Phoenix, West and East Food Courts. AirCarbon is a regenerative biomaterial created by biotechnology company Newlight Technologies that uses natural microorganisms from the ocean that consume greenhouse gases as their energy source. AirCarbon has already been used to make products such as bags, straws, containers and phone cases, and since the material is natural, it can degrade in the ocean in about one year, while plastic can take hundreds of years to degrade.

Read more: AirCarbon Straws Introduced to All UCI Retail Dining Locations

  1. Grubhub extends campus robot service with Kiwibot partnership

Grubhub has announced a partnership with last-mile robotic delivery company Kiwibot to provide robot delivery services on college campuses across the United States, starting with the University of North Dakota and then rolling out to additional schools next semester. Kiwibot joins Grubhub's existing robot partners, including Cartken and Starship Technologies, on nearly a dozen campuses offering robot delivery. "When it comes to the campus dining experience, we see robot delivery as a complementary offering to traditional delivery since the robots can navigate hard-to-reach areas on campuses," said Adam Herbert, senior director of campus partnerships at Grubhub.

Read more: Grubhub and Kiwibot Partner for Robot Delivery on College Campuses

  1. Restaurant industry forecast for 2023 sees a lot more tech on the way

A lot of crystal balls come out this time of year and they often display an intriguing forecast of what’s to come in the near term. For the restaurant industry, many of the recurring images appearing in those crystal balls have to do with technology. According to Datassential’s 2023 predictions, for example, artificial intelligence will have a “huge” impact on the industry, not just by helping to develop new items but also by easing the continuing labor shortage.

Read more: 2023 industry predictions are (unsurprisingly) tech heavy

  1. Autonomous vehicle goes 3.6 miles to deliver meals to airport workers

Autonomous delivery firm Clevon recently performed its first U.S. autonomous delivery by using its flagship multi-platform all-electric robot courier CLEVON 1 to deliver gourmet meals from O’Neill’s Inflight Catering to customers at Perot Field Fort Worth Alliance Airport, a distance of 3.6 miles. “Today’s accomplishment shows the direct benefit to businesses looking to solve recurring, on-demand delivery needs," said Neill Reagan, owner of O’Neill’s Inflight Catering, which provides catering services to the private airplane community.

Read more: Clevon completes first North American autonomous delivery

Bonus: Eight onsite dining predictions for 2023

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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