Meet Serve, the Newest Member of the Postmates Fleet

December 13, 2018

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Meet Serve, the Newest Member of the Postmates Fleet

A revolution just arrived at your doorstep.

After combing through millions of deliveries, researching customer interactions, and testing multiple autonomous delivery modes, we are proud to unveil the first robotic delivery device created from the ground up by an on-demand delivery company.

Meet Serve.

7 years and millions of deliveries later — we realized that we are in a unique position to create our very own autonomous delivery vehicle, that pairs a patented Socially-Aware-Navigation system with the proprietary Postmates software that customers around the country know and love. By developing an in-house, design-first approach, Serve was built to respect cities, meet customer demands, and help local businesses sell even more.

By leveraging data to model the modern way in which food and goods move around our cities, we were able to identify even greater efficiencies when we augmented our existing fleet of more than 350,000 Postmates with rovers — with the eventual vision to move those goods at zero cost.

It’s designed to work alongside the existing Postmates fleet to move small objects over short distances efficiently. It runs on electricity and moves at walking speed, routing deliveries away from congested streets and onto sidewalks.

Some of the unique and industry-leading features of Serve include:

  • Serve’s socially aware navigation brings together design and technology in an entirely new way for sidewalk rovers
  • Serve has the most advanced set of sensors including Velodyne Lidar and uses a NVIDIA XAVIER processor
  • Serve can carry 50 lbs and go 30 miles on a single charge
  • Customers interact with Serve using a touchscreen and cameras
  • To communicate, Serve has dynamic lighting in the eyes and a light ring on top to signal movement like a change in direction

At its core, Serve embodies our vision for the future of delivery. But that also comes with our own set of principles.

1. People and Serve in harmony. Serve will also give the rest of our fleet superpowers, enabling them to deliver more. A Postmate wouldn’t have to navigate a dense urban neighborhood searching for parking. Serve could instantly pick up orders and transport them a few blocks to a Postmate away from occupied parking spaces and traffic.

Technology can be used to enable us to do more. Too often we hear about the fear that robots will replace our workforce, but people are essential to solving problems on the go. And Serve does just that. From external partnerships with automotive companies, to our own in-house robotics supply chain, we’ve been able to test delivery routes on sidewalks across numerous states without impacting a single Postmate, while help retailers sell even more during peak periods and reducing car congestion.

Human problems require human solutions. Our fleet complete millions of deliveries each month, and they are the ones best suited to navigate complex urban environments. Our goal is to help them do this easier and more efficiently.

2. Community-centered design demands equity & inclusion. We believe that deploying new technologies can be done by prioritizing the equity and inclusion of all communities — from our hungriest customers to our most avid pedestrians. That’s why we are also testing prototypes at senior living communities in Northern California. There, Serve is learning to operate with people in mind; while refining its Social-Aware-Navigation technology to respect our elderly or disabled neighbors on sidewalks that people use daily.

We know our cities are changing. Modernizing our infrastructure can enable new forms of mobility and reduce congestion. Here in San Francisco, there is enough street parking to cover the state’s coastline. That’s why we have worked with advocacy groups such as SPUR to reimagine curb space. We’re committed to a vision of abundance, in which we maximize space for everyone to walk, ride bicycles, scooters, and even drive.

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