This Michigan-Based Startup is Using Self- Driving Robots for No-Contact and Low-Cost Food Deliveries

Refraction AI is a robot delivery startup based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, the United States. It offers easy and efficient food delivery from restaurants to consumers. This delivery is made using a self-driving robot manufactured by Refraction AI (REV-1), working on machine learning algorithms. The robot so offered is claimed to be lightweight, low cost, and autonomous, thereby making food delivery hassle-free. In the recent Seed funding rounds, the organization raised $ 4.2 million, which takes the total funding to a little more than $10 million. The capital raised would be utilized in the direction of geographic expansion, product development, and consumer acquisition. 

The organization was started by the University of Michigan and started delivering food to the consumers in the year 2019. The minds behind Refraction AI are Matthew Johnson-Roberson and Ram Vasudevan. The company’s primary aim is to bring in a small fleet of delivery robots that would lessen the employees’ workload and ensure contact-less and low-cost deliveries, which would be beneficial for both the restaurants and the consumers. Refraction AI innovatively uses machine learning to deliver goods to people. While doing so, they also ensure that the business costs are reduced, the roads are less congested, and the carbon emissions are minimal (sustainability). 

The robot’s initial prototype was on a bicycle foundation, and it is now equipped to go on the bike and car lanes and roads instead of the standard sidewalk bots. This new approach by Refraction AI allows the robot to travel at a quicker speed, roughly about 15 miles in an hour, and it also reduces the pedestrian issues of the sidewalk. Simultaneously, the bike roads are very narrow and could pose problems for the robots and the cyclists alike. 


A prominent feature that has also been included in the robot is the appropriate usage of cameras. This feature will lower the price and allow the company to scale up the number of robots that it manufactures for delivery purposes. Although the camera technology is not pitch-perfect, it works well with the weather conditions, especially in the upper Midwest, and is not distracted by the weather. 

Currently, Refraction AI is testing the robot fleets in limited numbers in the native Ann Arbor region. It mainly focuses on restaurants and grocery store deliveries and wants to bridge the gap of all the issues seen in the other robotic delivery systems. As a service offering platform, it is now seeking to expand not only its area but also its industry with the use of machine learning. 

Source link:

Amreen Bawa is a consulting intern at MarktechPost. Along with pursuing BA Hons in Social Sciences from Panjab University, Chandigarh, she is also a keen learner and writer, having special interest in the application and scope of artificial intelligence in various facets of life.

🐝 Join the Fastest Growing AI Research Newsletter Read by Researchers from Google + NVIDIA + Meta + Stanford + MIT + Microsoft and many others...