Kyocera, a familiar name in office equipment, mobile communication, and imaging, has developed an autonomous vehicle that goes around peddling food and drinks.
Recently, Kyocera Communication Systems Co., Ltd. (KCCS) launched an autonomous robot outfitted with heating and chilling functions.
The Kyocera autonomous food & drinks sale vehicle started a service demonstration test on July 27 in the Makuhari New City area of Mihama Ward, Chiba City. It is the first in Japan to demonstrate mobile sales with a self-driving vehicle on public roads.
The autonomous shop-on-wheels is part of KCCS’s feasibility study and technical certification of self-driving robots for various applications. This isn’t KCCS’ first rodeo, though.
Last year, from August to September 2021, the company conducted tests of delivery services using autonomous robots in Ishikari City, Hokkaido, and more recently, in March 2022, in Makuhari New city district in Mihama Ward, Chiba City.
For this latest autonomous robot trial, the robot-on-wheels will go around parks, condominiums, and housing for the elderly to sell cold drinks and jellies. The trial will run from July 27 to August 10, for 5 days a week, from 10 AM to 6 PM – subjected to weather and/or road conditions.
The vehicle, which measures no more than 2.5 meters (8.2′) long and 1.3 meters (4.3′) wide, will travel at a maximum speed of 15 km/h (9.3 mph). While the operation is largely autonomous, it is being monitored closely in case any unexpected situation arises.
While the vehicle is pretty high-tech, the sale is not so much. To purchase a product, a user will approach a parked self-driving vehicle, and select the product and quantity he or she wants to buy using the touch panel on the vehicle.
After payment has been made with e-money using a smartphone, the door to the items will unlock to allow the user to pick up the item. So, yeah, it is not a vending system. It is very much based on the honor system which Japan probably has no issue with. Though we can’t say the same for other countries. Just saying…
This isn’t the first self-driving going around selling food and drinks. Back in 2019, Stop & Shop had a self-driving vehicle that sells groceries and in 2020, autonomous food vehicles, including KFC and Pizza Hut, were a common sight in some major cities in China.
Below is a video of the package delivery version:
Images courtesy of Kyocera Communication Systems Co., Ltd.