Food delivery robots get rolling in San Pedro

Several San Pedro restaurants have partnered with local robotics company, Coco, to provide a contact-free delivery option.
SAN PEDRO, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Robots are coming to San Pedro and they're bringing takeout.

The San Pedro Chamber of Commerce and Councilmember Joe Buscaino announced a contact-free delivery pilot program to help small businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic with human-operated robots.

"Our remotely-piloted vehicles provide local delivery at about half the cost of car-based delivery methods," said the co-founder and CEO of Coco, Zach Rash. "We do this without direct human contact, diminishing the risk of COVID exposure for both businesses and for the residents ordering the food."

Coco is a Los Angeles-based robotics company that launched in February 2020. Rash said that Coco is bringing a cost-effective, contact-free and environmentally-friendly solution for restaurants.

"There's a tremendous volume of orders happening in a couple block distance and right now, those are being delivered in 4,000-pound gas powered cars," Rash said.

Coco said the robots have a two-way microphone to communicate with pedestrians on the sidewalk. Customers place an order through the app or website and meet Coco outside.

"There's no human interaction," said owner of San Pedro Brewing Co. and Coco partner James Brown. "Everything that we will send out there will be sealed and by the time that it gets to the end user no humans are dropping it off."

Coco's robots are GPS and camera-based, it travels at around five miles per hour and is 100% electric.

"Most importantly, this pilot program will also create new jobs for local San Pedro residents who Coco is working to hire as we speak," said Councilmember Joe Buscaino.

The 50-pound pink robots are remotely-piloted by operators within a one-mile radius of the restaurants.

"The fastest way to have this work safely with businesses work with the city and actually get this into the public in a safe responsible way is to have human operators behind them," said Rash. "Especially if you hire local people who know the area, they know the people that live here and they know the businesses."

The four businesses participating in the pilot program include A1 Imported Groceries & Deli, Sebastian's Mediterranean Cuisine, La Bocca Felice and San Pedro Brewing Co.

Coco said it is offering free delivery to both seniors and healthcare professionals through their mobile app.

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