A courier robot in Berkeley burned out due to a lack of monitoring of the system status.
Delivery robots are no longer new. In some US cities, different companies are testing their own models of such systems. But they, unfortunately, are far from perfect. One of the illustrative examples of this is the incident with the burnt-down KiwiBot robot courier from Berkeley, California, USA.
Developed this robot company Kiwi. Its engineers have created several varieties of robotic couriers to deliver food from catering establishments. The system is quite complicated, but so far no one has complained about it. Initially, the restaurant that received the order forms it and loads it into the robot, which sends its cargo from the cafe to the street.
Then comes the turn of the courier, which overloads the contents of the container in small wheeled robots. They are engaged in direct delivery. The maximum distance for which they are designed - 300 meters, this is the last link in the delivery chain. The cost of the entire process for the client is $ 3.8.
A few days ago, just such a robot caught fire - he had a problem with the battery. The problem was solved quickly - the device was extinguished with a fire extinguisher, which was brought by someone from eyewitnesses. The developers of the robot, however, did not know anything about the incident until they arrived at the scene. The problem is that the courier robot software did not have a function to evaluate the internal state of the mechanism.
As a result, Kiwi knew only that the robot had stopped for some reason. But why - it was not clear. Subsequently, Kiwi suspended the use of virtually all of its systems until the cause of the fire was ascertained. As it turned out, one of the employees replaced the previous battery of the robot with a faulty one, which is why it caught fire. Now the company has updated the firmware, which monitors the temperature inside the system, and can also prevent a short circuit in the battery.
It is worth noting that the Kiwi robots are not new to Berkeley, they have made more than 10,000 successful deliveries of food products to service customers. The average time is 27 minutes , in any case, company representatives say.
Problems with robots couriers relate not only to accidents. In some cities, people show inexplicable aggression towards them. So, in 2016, several companies began testing such systems for the delivery of food and a number of other goods to home and offices. But almost immediately began cases of aggression against robots.
In some cases, residents of San Francisco, USA, simply wrote complaints asking them to remove robots from the streets. But which citizens applied arbitrariness, having decided to independently immobilize robots. Someonepushed the robot on its side , smearing all the sauce sensors. Someone else just put it upright and left. The mechanism is not able to return to its previous position on its own, so the problem had to be solved by the developers or bystanders.
Nevertheless, the company Starship Technologies, whose robots suffered the most, continues to work. Moreover, it expands the range of goods delivered by couriers on wheels. Now it is any goods and packages that are able to lift the robot.
True, as in the case of the robotic Waymo, which is driven by a human operator, the work of couriers also has to be monitored. Now the device is almost always accompanied by a person, an employee of Starship Technologies. In addition, there are other difficulties - for example, the company has to agree to start working with the administration of each city, where it is planned to begin operations.