Grubhub will deploy the suitcase-size rovers built by Russian tech company Yandex YNDX -0.13% NV to some of the 250 colleges across the U.S. that Grubhub already operates in, the companies said Tuesday. The six-wheeled autonomous rovers have been tested in recent years on the snowy streets of Moscow, delivering food, groceries and documents. Since April, the robots have also been delivering orders from local restaurants in Ann Arbor, Mich., as part of a trial.
The pandemic has boosted the food-delivery business, sparking interest from some companies to automate parts of their operations. The use of robots and drones is aimed at cutting labor costs, one of the biggest hurdles on the path to making delivery profitable. Earlier this year, DoorDash Inc. DASH -3.56% acquired robotics startup Chowbotics, whose technology can whip up salads and poke bowls.