Robot to deliver food to beachgoers in upcoming trial at Siloso Beach

The robot is equipped with various cameras to detect obstacles around it, and has food warming and cooling technology. PHOTO: GRAB SINGAPORE
A Grab employee loading food into an autonomous vehicle robot used for food deliveries in an upcoming pilot. PHOTO: GRAB SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Beachgoers lounging on the sand while robots serve them their canapes and mai tai - Singapore is one step closer to this reality, with the launch of a new food delivery service next month.

Visitors to Siloso Beach on Sentosa can soon have their meals delivered by an autonomous vehicle robot, as part of an upcoming trial by Grab and local tech firm NCS.

The pilot, supported by Sentosa Development Corporation, will start in early May and  last for a month, the two companies said on Wednesday (April 27).

Visitors can order food from two participating eateries at Siloso Beach - Ola Beach Club and Summerhouse Beach Club at Skypark Sentosa by AJ Hackett - through the Grab app by selecting the "Mix & Match Store - Sentosa" location.

Grab app users can also access this pilot service by scanning QR codes that will be available at the Sapphire Pavilion and Emerald Pavilion, which are on the beach.

They will have to select one of these locations for the robot to deliver their food to.

Users will subsequently be notified via the app when the food is ready for collection at the venues.

A Grab spokesman told The Straits Times that the robot will travel along Siloso Beach Walk, the road next to the beach, as it makes its deliveries.

Food orders will be grouped in a way that allows the robot to deliver as many of them as possible within a single trip.

More details on the pilot's operations will be shared closer to its start date, said the spokesman.

Grab and NCS said in a joint statement that the robot is equipped with various cameras to detect obstacles around it, and has food warming and cooling technology.

It will be managed by robotmanager, an artificial intelligence-powered platform developed by NCS.

The robot will also run on Singtel's 5G "standalone" network - which uses dedicated 5G equipment - thereby enabling better connectivity and minimising delays in the reception and deployment of food orders.

The robot will travel along Siloso Beach Walk as it makes its deliveries. PHOTO: GRAB SINGAPORE

Grab and NCS said the pilot aims to provide beachgoers with a more convenient way to get their meals.

"The joint collaboration will also provide insights and learnings into consumers' changing dining preferences and how robotic food deliveries can improve the dining experience in popular but difficult-to-reach locations," they added.

The upcoming pilot follows a previous one by Grab which started in June last year, where a robot consolidated GrabFood orders at Paya Lebar Quarter mall. The orders were then handed to Grab delivery riders at a central collection point.

Grab had said the robot was introduced to help reduce the time taken for Grab riders to navigate the mall and collect food from different stores for the same order.

The upcoming trial in Siloso Beach also comes after another food delivery pilot by foodpanda, ST Engineering and Sentosa Development Corporation, which ran from March 22 to April 9 this year.

Under the earlier pilot, drones were used to transport food from food and beverage establishments in Sentosa and VivoCity to St John's Island.

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