Singapore’s leading delivery platform, foodpanda, is advancing the progress of driverless deliveries in Singapore in partnership with three autonomous robot start-ups. From mid-May onwards, customers within the different trial areas will have the chance to have their orders delivered by a striking pink droid – brought to them by either Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) student start-up, Whizz Mobility, Singapore’s leading robotics company, OTSAW, or leading Chinese autonomous vehicle start-up, Neolix.
As a pioneer of quick commerce (q-commerce), foodpanda’s use of robots for deliveries is part of its wider strategy to leverage innovative technologies to progress towards a contactless, sustainable, and more efficient ecosystem of on-demand delivery services in Singapore. The launch of these pilot projects is also timed to meet the increasing demand for safer delivery following the pandemic. The robots are intended to provide additional support to riders by completing last-mile deliveries, especially in accessing difficult locations, and to ease strains on riders during peak hours or bad weather conditions.
The partnerships will be rolled out sequentially across separate locations in Singapore.
Jorge Rubio, Operations Director of foodpanda Singapore says, “We are always thinking of ways to make our deliveries even more efficient, and we believe that robot delivery has plenty to offer in making our deliveries better and safer. These robots, which are meant to complement our riders, will allow us to increase our delivery capacity and serve more customers in a more sustainable and cost-effective way. With our autonomous delivery partners, Whizz Mobility, OTSAW, and Neolix, our goal is to enhance the delivery ecosystem so that we can better serve our customers and ensure that our operations are future-proof to adapt to the changing world.”
On-demand foodpanda deliveries within NTU with Whizz Mobility
foodpanda’s autonomous delivery projects began with the rollout of Whizz Mobility robots, which deliver across the entire NTU campus, covering 200 hectares. Tapping on Whizz’s fleet of four FoodBots, the self-driving electronically powered robots function as riders, picking up food and other items from merchants and delivering the orders to staff and students around the campus daily, from 11am – 7pm. While the robots are self-driving, they are controlled by a backend operator to accept orders. Select customers who place orders during the robots’ operation hours will get a notification that their orders will be delivered by the robot. Merchants will load order items into the robot, and once the robot arrives at the delivery location, customers will be required to show the order proof to the camera mounted on the robot to unlock the hatch and collect their order.
Melvin Foo, Founder of Whizz Mobility says, “Our partnership with global delivery platform foodpanda is a significant milestone for Whizz as it marks our next phase of development and the opportunity to further test and expand our operations. Through this partnership, we hope to better serve our fellow NTU students and faculty on campus in a smarter, safer, and contactless manner during this pandemic.”
foodpanda’s trial with FoodBots will run from May to November 2021, with plans to expand to other areas in Singapore.
Expanding reach of robot deliveries in the heartlands with OTSAW
In March 2021, Singapore’s trial of autonomous delivery robots for on-demand delivery to Punggol residents made waves. The multi-agency collaboration featured local leading robotics company OTSAW’s autonomous delivery robot, Camello. Camello is also the first autonomous robot to have passed Land Transport Authority (LTA)’s safety assessment for the supervised use of autonomous vehicles on public paths.
This August, foodpanda is recruiting Camello to join its fleet to deliver food, groceries, and more from Punggol Oasis terrace mall to residents in surrounding HDB blocks. The robots will deliver to approximately 10 HDB blocks, a significant increase from 700 households served during OTSAW’S initial launch a few months prior. Camello will pick up foodpanda orders from merchant partners, drive itself to the ground floor of the customers’ location and upon arrival, send a One-Time Pin (OTP) to the customer. Customers can then enter the OTP to open the trunk to collect their order.
foodpanda will launch its 3-month trial with Otsaw’s Camello robots in August, with plans to add more locations and expand the trial delivery area to reach more customers, increasing accessibility of foodpanda services in Punggol and across Singapore.
Ling Ting Ming, CEO and Founder of OTSAW says, “Following our launch in March 2021, we are looking forward to starting this partnership with foodpanda as it gives us the opportunity to test the resilience of our operations and reach a wider community. While these trials are only being conducted within selected areas in Punggol at the moment, we hope to be able to expand to other parts of Singapore and continue working with foodpanda to accelerate the adoption of driverless deliveries in Singapore.”
Increasing convenience to students and staff at NUS University Town with Neolix
Neolix autonomous vehicles will not only be able to deliver food orders in University Town (UTown) but can also become mobile convenience stores during off-peak mealtimes.
During lunch and dinner hours, Neolix autonomous vehicles will help to fulfil last-mile deliveries – delivering orders that riders have picked up from outside of UTown. Neolix autonomous vehicles, which can store up to 100 bento boxes at once, will greatly lessen the constraint on our riders during peak periods, which in turn increases the chances of a successful order being placed while keeping delivery costs low. Outside of these peak hours, Neolix autonomous vehicles will be stocked with much-needed midday pick-me-ups such as coffee and snacks and transformed into mobile convenience stores to energize students and staff as they go about their day.
The foodpanda’s partnership with Neolix, which will run from July to October 2021 at UTown, marks the Chinese autonomous vehicle start-up’s debut in Singapore. Under this partnership, Neolix and foodpanda have plans to extend their services to other parts of the NUS campus with more Neolix autonomous vehicles.
Kevin Xu, VP & Head of Overseas at Neolix says, “We are excited to make our debut in Singapore through this partnership with food delivery platform foodpanda. As one of the first batch of autonomous vehicle companies in China, Neolix was awarded the vehicle license for its autonomous delivery vehicle and obtained the greenlight to go on public roads. We are confident that we will be able to support foodpanda in providing efficient and safe food delivery options in Singapore, starting with a pilot run at NUS University Town.”