Coronavirus (COVID-19): Rappi trials robot food deliveries in Colombia

Date : 28 April 2020

Oliver Butterworth

Retail Analyst

In response to COVID-19, Rappi has partnered with Colombian technology business KiwiBot to trial using robots for last mile food deliveries. The aim is to fulfil safe food deliveries, which reduce face-to-face contact and, therefore, prevent spreading the virus further. To protect customers’ safety, the robots are thoroughly disinfected before and after each delivery.

“We believe that by partnering with technology we will be able to continue meeting our aim of safely making people’s lives easier, especially in situations like the one we find ourselves in.” Matias Laks, Rappi Country Manager for Colombia

Trial underway in Medellin

Rappi and KiwiBot have been trialing the service in Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city, since mid-April. They are currently using 15 robots, which can fulfil about 120 orders daily. For now, they are only delivering food from restaurants (Rappi also offers supermarket deliveries by bike courier). To be a part of the trial restaurants are required to offer digital payment and packaging must be of a maximum size of 35 sq. cm.

Source: El Tiempo

Is this the future of delivery?

The trial is scheduled to run until 8 July. KiwiBot said it could expand into other cities where Rappi operates last mile deliveries, largely dependent on the trial’s initial results. Customers able to use the service in Medellin are given the choice between delivery by human or KiwiBot. This may help the businesses understand consumer trust and appetite for this sort of technology.

Kiwibot, which has its headquarters in the US, are already fulfilling deliveries in its home market and have developed the technology to operate safely in large cities. Felipe Chávez, KiwiBot’s chief executive, said “the new reality we are facing makes us think of new possibilities. At KiwiBot, we are pleased to be able to work with Rappi to offer them our experience and thus be able to reach more and more people with a service that contributes to cities, businesses and users”.

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