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  • Food delivery.

  • It's the thing that saves millennials from starvation.

  • By my calculations,

  • Americans order over 20 million restaurant deliveries

  • every single day.

  • Over half of these deliveries are actually within walking distance.

  • But nine out of 10 are delivered in cars.

  • So basically,

  • we are moving a two-pound burrito

  • in a two-ton car

  • 20 million times a day.

  • The energy to bring you that burrito

  • is actually bringing you a two-ton metal cage

  • with heated seats.

  • Let's be honest.

  • We are addicted to our cars.

  • Did you know that in America,

  • for every car, there are four parking spots?

  • In some downtowns,

  • over half of the real estate is for cars.

  • We have designed our cities around our cars,

  • because we drive whether we're going two miles

  • or 200 miles.

  • Solo, or with our whole family.

  • We get into the same SUV to go buy coffee or a coffee table.

  • If we could free up some of these streets and parking lots,

  • we could build more housing,

  • more social spaces, more parks.

  • But to do that,

  • first, we need to rethink how we are using cars today.

  • In the city of the future,

  • if you want to go five blocks, you summon a bike or a scooter.

  • If you're in a rush, a passenger drone would pick you up.

  • And if you need food, no need to have someone drive over --

  • the food will make its way to you.

  • Let's go back to those 20 million a day restaurant deliveries.

  • If we could get these deliveries off the road,

  • we could reduce the need

  • for as many as one and a half million cars just in the US.

  • That's twice the size of San Francisco.

  • Now, think of the impact this could have on cities like Delhi,

  • or my birth city of Tehran,

  • where car pollution is killing thousands of people every year.

  • So how do we get some of these deliveries off the road?

  • Well, that's the question

  • that my team and I have been obsessed with over the last three years.

  • And the solution is actually one of the building blocks

  • of the city of the future.

  • We've been creating small, self-driving robots

  • that navigate quiet alleys and sidewalks

  • on a walking pace

  • and have a secured cargo to deliver you food and supplies.

  • Now, before I tell you more about the robots,

  • let's do a quick thought experiment.

  • In your mind, picture a city with thousands of robots.

  • Is it this one?

  • This Hollywood dystopia is what a lot of people expect.

  • But our job is to create a friendly future that's designed for people.

  • So instead of making aliens,

  • we set out to create robots that are familiar.

  • Robots that would belong in our communities.

  • But we also wanted a little surprise.

  • Something unexpectedly delightful.

  • Think about it.

  • You're walking down the street,

  • and you see your very first robot.

  • That's the moment when you're going to decide

  • if this is a future you love or fear.

  • And with a lot of people having these dystopian ideas,

  • we need to open their minds.

  • We want to surprise and delight them,

  • so that we can win them over on first impression.

  • This is what we came up with.

  • It's familiar, but it's also surprising.

  • It's just a shopping cart,

  • but it also looks like we crossbred WALL-E with Minions.

  • If you live in San Francisco or Los Angeles,

  • chances are one of these has already delivered your food.

  • As soon as we put robots out on the street,

  • we learned some really interesting problems.

  • Like, how should robots cross the road?

  • Or how should robots interact with people with visual or mobility impairments?

  • We quickly realized that we need to teach our robots

  • how to communicate with people.

  • People on the sidewalk come from every walk of life,

  • so we needed to create a new language,

  • kind of a universal language

  • so people and robots can understand each other

  • right off the bat.

  • Because no one is going to be reading user manuals.

  • We started with eyes, because eyes are universal.

  • They can show where the robot is going

  • or if it's confused.

  • Plus, eyes make robots more human.

  • We also used sounds.

  • For example, we created this running sound

  • with frequent gaps

  • so that people with visual impairments could locate their robots

  • using the Doppler effect.

  • But it turned out these were not enough.

  • At intersections,

  • cars would cut in front of our robots.

  • Drivers were getting confused sometimes,

  • because robots would take too long before they started crossing.

  • Even ordinary pedestrians were getting confused.

  • Sometimes, they couldn't figure out on which side to pass the robots,

  • because robots make a lot of small adjustments to their direction

  • as they move.

  • This actually sparked a new idea.

  • What if we used movement to create a universal language?

  • Like, at intersections,

  • robots would gently move forward before they start crossing,

  • to signal to drivers that it's their turn.

  • If they see someone in a wheelchair,

  • they yield by pointing themselves away from the sidewalk,

  • to signal that they're not going to move.

  • Some of you may remember this.

  • In 2015, Canadian researchers sent a robot hitchhiking across the US.

  • It didn't get very far.

  • It turns out that robots can also use some social skills.

  • Like, if they're being tampered with,

  • Carnegie Mellon researchers have shown that small toy robots should play dead,

  • because people feel bad when they think they broke it.

  • But delivery robots aren't toys,

  • they're not small, they are out there in public.

  • We found that with delivery robots,

  • to get people to stop tampering,

  • robots need to show awareness.

  • It's kind of the opposite of playing dead.

  • In this case,

  • robots need to acknowledge the situation

  • to get people to step away.

  • Also, a word of advice.

  • If you are a robot and you see small kids,

  • run towards the closest adult.

  • It turns out that some kids just love harassing robots.

  • So besides dystopia,

  • Hollywood also promised us some really cool robots

  • that would run our errands or keep us company.

  • So far, we've really focused on food delivery,

  • but in the future,

  • these robots can do more.

  • Like, they could gather excess food and bring it to shelters every night.

  • Because in America, we waste 30 percent of our food,

  • while 10 percent of our people experience food insecurity.

  • These robots could be part of the solution.

  • Or when we have hundreds of robots running around cities,

  • we could have robots carry emergency medications at all times,

  • just in case someone nearby has an allergic reaction

  • or an asthma attack.

  • These robots could be on-site within a minute or two,

  • faster than anyone else.

  • And during pandemics,

  • robots can be a key part of our infrastructure.

  • They can ensure

  • that we can provide our communities with the essential needs

  • even during emergencies.

  • Let me leave you with one last thought.

  • Today, objects can't get from A to B without human help,

  • because our three-dimensional world is quite complex.

  • But new sensors and AI can change that.

  • In a way, technology is like a baby

  • that has just learned to recognize objects and understand words,

  • and maybe even hold a basic conversation,

  • but it hasn't learned to walk yet.

  • Now, we are teaching technology

  • how to navigate the three-dimensional world

  • without our help.

  • We are entering this new era

  • where insentient objects are going to get up and move freely.

  • And when they do,

  • we've got to make sure they don't look like aliens.

  • My vision for the future is that when things come to life,

  • they do so with joy.

  • You know, less like the movie "Terminator"

  • and more like "Toy Story."

  • Thank you.

Food delivery.

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B1 robot delivery people small food delivery burrito

A friendly, autonomous robot that delivers your food | Ali Kashani

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/26
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