Mobile food ordering and delivery platform Grubhub, has partnered with Yandex Self-Driving Group (SDG), an autonomous vehicle developer, for a multi-year partnership that will see Yandex become Grubhub’s robot delivery provider on college campuses. The partnership will enable Grubhub university clients to deploy Yandex robots on campus for faster, more cost-effective deliveries that complement Grubhub’s existing delivery capabilities for colleges and universities.
This will be Yandex’s first foray into the U.S. market. The company’s delivery robots use Yandex proprietary self-driving technologies, including autonomous navigation of sidewalks, pedestrian areas, and crosswalks, making it possible to reach areas on campus not accessible by cars. The robots can handle deliveries without human guidance, providing efficient automation for last-mile logistics scenarios.
“Together with Yandex, we’re changing the way college students experience food delivery,” says Brian Madigan, vice president of corporate and campus partners at Grubhub. “We’re excited to offer these cost-effective, scalable and quick food ordering and delivery capabilities to colleges and universities across the country that are looking to adapt to students’ unique dining needs.”
“While college campuses are notoriously difficult for cars to navigate, specifically as it relates to food delivery, Yandex robots easily access parts of campuses that vehicles cannot — effectively removing a major hurdle universities face when implementing new technology,” adds Madigan.
Yandex calls its delivery robots “rovers,” and the autonomous units are able to perform last-mile deliveries on pre-mapped areas. The rovers can operate after dark, in average snow and rain, navigate autonomously between pick up and drop off points, and use regulated and unregulated crosswalks.
As the delivery robot approaches its final destination, the student receives a push notification with the rover’s status update, and when it arrives, opens the hatch of the rover via the Grubhub app.
“As we looked for a robot delivery partner, we recognized that we not only needed best-in-class technology, but the resources and scale to meet the unique demands of our campus clients,” says Sean Ir, director of strategic partnerships at Grubhub. “Yandex was the clear choice, and together we will serve colleges and universities across the country better than ever before.”
Grubhub has now partnered with more than 250 college campuses across the United States, enabling students to integrate meal plans directly into their Grubhub account and access restaurants both on- and off-campus for delivery and pickup. With the Yandex SDG partnership, Grubhub Campus adds another option to its existing contact-free delivery capabilities.
“We chose to partner with Grubhub for campus delivery because of Grubhub’s unparalleled reach into college campuses across the United States, as well as the flexibility and strength of their ordering platform,” says Dmitry Polishchuk, CEO of Yandex Self-Driving Group. “We are delighted to deploy dozens of our rovers, taking the next step in actively commercializing our self-driving technology in different markets across the globe.”
Robot delivery from Grubhub and Yandex will be available to universities in time for the start of the Fall semester.