An expanded food delivery robot from Refraction AI in Ann Arbor will bring restaurant deliveries, and now grocery store orders, right to your front door or office building. Check to see if the delivery zone is in your area.
The service is offered in partnership with Ann Arbor’s Produce Station.
Orders are delivered by the REV-1, an autonomous delivery robot created by Refraction AI. After placing the order, the customer receives a unique code and delivery updates throughout the process.
They are notified to meet the REV-1 at the curb when it arrives. The order is carried in the robot’s storage compartment. The customer can open it by inputting the code they received. The service is currently free of charge and is available from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Refraction AI’s grocery delivery builds on its partnerships with Ann Arbor restaurants such as Miss Kim and Tio’s Mexican Cafe. The company’s autonomous restaurant delivery service has seen increased demand since the shelter-in-place restrictions were put in place, with three to four times as many orders as before.
“Our expansion into grocery delivery was a no-brainer during this time when the need for contactless delivery is so strong,” says Matthew Johnson-Roberson, co-founder and CEO of Refraction AI. “We’re really happy to provide a safer solution for grocery shopping, especially for the at-risk members of our community. Through this partnership with Produce Station, we’ll be gathering insight and data to further expand our grocery delivery model.”
The company has increased safety protocols and adjusted operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They disinfect the robots between each delivery.
The REV-1 has three wheels and stands about 4 feet tall, 4.5 feet long, and 30 inches wide. It weighs about 100 pounds and travels 10 to 15 mph, leaving it fast and light enough to operate in both the bike lane and roadway. The storage compartment holds 16 cubic feet, or about six paper bags of groceries.
To place a REV-1 grocery delivery order, customers can follow the steps on this page.
Refraction AI was founded by roboticists and professors at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and the company is backed by eLab Ventures and Trucks Venture Capital.