Ottobots, a fleet of fully autonomous delivery robots for food and retail, launched last month at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). This is the first autonomous robotic delivery of food, beverage and lifestyle products in an airport environment, according to the company that operates them, Ottonomy, which unveiled the Ottobots officially at CES this week.
Launched before the holiday travel season, passengers are able to order contactless delivery directly to their location in Concourse B of the airport, delivered by an autonomous robot. Customers can select grab and go, beverage and travel items sold at select retail stores operated by Paradies Lagardere via orderatcvg.com on mobile devices.
Customers receive status updates on their phone and a unique QR code, which can be scanned by the robot’s top camera to open the secure compartment and retrieve their items. The entire delivery experience is contactless and fully autonomous.
“At CVG, we are redefining the travel experience by combining talent and tech to deliver innovative solutions,” said Candace McGraw, chief executive officer, CVG Airport. “We’ve built a culture of innovation at the airport and are excited to partner with Ottonomy to test and advance this technology in a live, airport environment.”
Ottobots create a digital map of the serviceable area and localize within that map. Its live location gets updated on the map while they are navigating autonomously to deliver the orders. Ottonomy’s proprietary contextual mobility navigation software enables Ottobot to navigate through crowded and unpredictable environments.
The original pilot of Ottobots at CVG started running in late 2020. The partners gathered feedback from participating passengers including details on the experience, cost and desire to have autonomous delivery in airports. These live robot deliveries will gather additional research to further develop the program and user experience.
Ottobot has also partnered with Los Angeles based Crave, for last-mile food delivery for its restaurant customers. In December 2021, Presto, a provider of restaurant automation technologies announced that their partner restaurant guests will be able to order using Presto’s technology and have the food delivered via Ottonomy’s robots.
“We are excited to unveil Ottobots at our first CES,” says Ritukar Vijay, CEO of Ottonomy. “The pandemic has provided Ottobots a catalyst enabling a series of partnerships that allowed us to launch fully autonomous delivery for indoor deliveries, curbside deliveries and last-mile deliveries.”
To support its effort to roll out Ottobots across North America over the next 18 months, Ottonomy has formed a strategic partnership with ARO, a global leader in robotic management, operations, and support. ARO will support Ottonomy during its rollout, including implementation, daily operations, robotic fleet management, and complete robot lifecycle management. Ottonomy is also a new addition to Newlab at Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York, where they will be running additional pilots.