A robot delivering food to the customers burst and caught fire in Berkeley, California on Friday, report Daily Californian. The startup named Kiwi which makes & manages about 100 strong fleet robots, issued the statement saying that fire was extinguished quickly by a person passing by the road before the fire department of the city arrived & doused the robot in foam. None of the person was harmed due to this incident. Due to this, the company has suspended their service until the further investigation of this incident is completed. They reported that the incident has been caused due to human error, as a defective battery was installed into robot manually, which caused thermal runaway. This was similar to the issue which has recalled Samsung’s Note 7 smartphones. The company said that a latest software will monitor state of every battery installed into the robot which will prevent such future incidents.
Kiwi said that this incident resulted into some smoke & minor flames. The KiwiBots currently fly in Berkeley, which are developed to handle last 300 meters of food delivery. The delivery process by Kiwi costs them $3.80 which is formed using three different levels. At first, food order is carried using a robot, where the order is later picked by the courier on tricycle. The courier is then delivered to few 100 meters from the destination, before this a KiwiBot takes it directly at the customer’s door.
This service was launched in the year 2017, and till now it has made more than 10000 successful deliveries at an average time of 27 minutes for delivering food, says the company. This incident has made impact on the emerging robot delivering industry. Many companies like Starship, and recently Postmates, has started testing the autonomous food delivery services. San Francisco imposed limits for using those machines as it mandatory to have permit as well as restricting its use to the less crowded localities of city.