Taiwan’s first food delivery robot to hit streets March 1

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s first meal delivery robot will hit the streets on March 1, beginning a trial run in Kaohsiung Software Technology Park that will last for just under one year.

It’s not uncommon to see delivery robots delivering meals within restaurants, and now the delivery robot Cubot ONE makes home deliveries possible, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Wednesday (Feb. 22). The Ministry provided subsidies to the non-profit research institute ITRI to develop the robot.

7-Eleven’s parent company also announced today that from March 1, office workers within the Kaohsiung technology park would be able to have robot-delivered meals to their office door.

Cubot ONE was previewed at the 2022 Meet Greater South Exhibition and is now ready for trial operations after more than half a year of refinement. The robot will apparently be able to navigate inside and outside of buildings, avoid obstacles in crowds and use narrow elevators, according to the release.

MOEA Special Committee on Technology member Chang Neng-kai (張能凱), said that global demand for service robots had grown rapidly in recent years, with logistics robots accounting for approximately one third of all sales. MOEA estimates that the global market value of logistics robots will reach US$49.4 billion (over NT$1.5 trillion) by 2027.

The robot delivery service will be accessed through the Foodomo app, a relatively small actor in Taiwan’s food delivery market that is dominated by Foodpanda and Uber Eats. According to a Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MCI) report, out of the 71% of Taiwanese consumers that use food delivery services, up to 78% use either Foodpanda or Uber Eats, while only 6.5% use Foodomo.

In the same 2022 report, MCI analyst Hu Tzu-li (胡自立) said that the food delivery market in Taiwan had stabilized and that major players were no longer focused on growing market share. Foodomo’s unique autonomous delivery capability and the potential for cost savings that brings with it may mean there are changes in the market ahead yet.

Cubot ONE, a food delivery robot that will begin a trial period delivering to customers in a set area in Kaohsiung on March 1. (Ministry of Economic Affairs photo)

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