Robotics in Food Delivery
PepsiCo and Anheuser-Busch are two examples of CPG and CSD companies that are utilizing robots in the delivery of their products. Detailed below is how robots are being used in delivery in each of these companies.
PEPSICO: HELLO GOODNESS SNACKBOT
- Since most customers are looking for convenient ways to buy items using their smartphones, PepsiCo launched its first self-driving robot that delivers snacks to the students of the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.
- Students can order snacks via an app on their smartphones, which will be delivered by a six-wheeled delivery bot called Snackbot to more than 50 locations inside the campus.
- Snackbot is still in its early stage with only three robots and three workers on the campus that refill snacks and replace batteries.
- Anheuser-Busch, an American brewing company that owns a variety of beer brands, has placed a reservation for 40 self-driving trucks from automobile manufacturer Tesla. The main goal of this project is for the company to reduce its carbon footprint by 30%.
- In 2016, the company launched its first driverless delivery in partnership with Uber.
- The self-driving trucks can travel to up to 300 to 500 miles depending on its battery capacity and can hold to up to 51,744 12-ounce cans of Budweiser or Bud Light.
To determine five CPG or CSD companies that are utilizing robots in the delivery of their products, we started our research by looking for pre-compiled lists of companies that use robots in their delivery system. The idea was to go through any found lists and pick those companies that belong to the CPG and CSD spaces. Using this strategy, we found PepsiCo's Snackbot. The rest of the companies we found that use robots in their delivery system were carrier, mobility, and robotic companies. Although there were CPG and CSD companies mentioned, they use robots in their production and packaging, not delivery, so we did not include them in our findings. Since most of the sources we found using the first strategy cited autonomous or self-driving vehicles in delivery services, we directed our research on this path. We looked for CPG or CSD companies that utilize driverless vehicles in their delivery through leading media publications, press releases, and websites dedicated to technology, supply chains, and consumer goods. However, we only found one company using this strategy, Anheuser-Busch, though it was evident in several sources that retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Kroger are some of the key players in using robots or self-driving vehicles in delivery. Lastly, we changed our strategy again and focused on major CPG and CSG companies in the hope of identifying the technologies they use in their delivery system, which might include robots or self-driving vehicles. Some of the companies we looked into are Unilever, Nestle, P&G, Coca-Cola, and Keurig Dr. Pepper. The assumption was that key players are most likely the first to adopt new technology, such as using robots in delivery services. However, the closest information we found using this strategy is the self-driving robots of Coca-Cola in the UK and Nestle's robots that run distribution centers in the UK and Japan. Since these are outside of the US, we did not include them in our findings.
We summarized our findings on how PepsiCo and Anheuser-Busch use robots in their delivery system above. The limited data on CPG or CSD companies that utilize robots in the delivery of their products could be because the majority of these companies do not directly deliver to their consumers; delivery is mostly done by their retailers, which could explain why giant retailers are leading the usage of robots in delivery.