The tiny autonomous robot can carry up to 50 pounds of cargo and deliver items within a 30-mile radius–and do all that while looking cute and approachable. Serve features a pair of eyes with dynamic lighting around them. The lighting will activate whenever the adorable little bot wants to communicate with a pedestrian that it is changing direction or performing some other task.
Serve is able to navigate city streets and even avoid objects on sidewalks, such as pedestrians and fire hydrants, thanks to its advanced lidar sensors found on the unit. Lidar is the same type of sensors used in self-driving cars. The rover also features a video touch screen on its surface so customers can interact with it.
“One thing we learned early on is that we need to develop a language for rovers and humans to understand each other’s intentions,” Postmates CEO Bastian Lehmann said in a press release. “We have developed a specific rover-human interface so that people understand what rovers are doing at any moment.”
The fact that Serve was designed to look more like Wall-E than a Death Star mouse droid will help with that understanding–after all, you’re more likely to approach an autonomous object you find cute rather than alarming.
Postmates will first launch Serve in the Los Angeles area before rolling the rover out to other “key cities” across the United States throughout 2019.