As deliveries go 100% curbside, Tiny Mile steps up
Across the globe and as of last week in Ontario, retailers are being forced into 100% curbside pickups, with only employees allowed in their stores. Even with contactless deliveries,, external link where the driver leaves the order at the door and there is no direct contact with the customers, delivery drivers are exposing themselves to risk by not staying home. The safest option? Take humans out of the equation.
On March 11, just as COVID-19 fears were cancelling events from concerts to the NHL, online delivery giant Foodora announced their partnership, external link with DFZ’s tech startup Tiny Mile Robotics, creators of a small 10-pound electric-powered robot named Geoffrey. The robot is equipped with 5 cameras, a 12-hour battery life, and the ability to reach speeds up to 6km/hour. “Geoffrey plays a big role in the future of no-contact, sustainable, artificially intelligent (AI), on-demand delivery in Canada”, Foodora stated. Four Geoffreys were deployed on the streets of Toronto this March, with fifty more slated for summer 2020 while expanding into other Canadian cities.
Tiny Mile Robotics is headed by industrial engineer Ignacio Tartavull and Gellert Mattyus who spent the last five years building autonomous cars and have impressive track records of scientific publications in the field. They met while working at tech giant Uber’s Advanced Technology Group in Toronto in early 2018, developing technologies required for autonomous driving. It wasn’t long before they started Tiny Mile and sought out Ryerson’s Design Fabrication Zone for help to not only to improve the design of the robot, but to improve the way people interact with it.
As the second startup to join the DFZ’s Integrated Design Program in January, Tiny Mile has connected with accredited professional industrial designers and brand designers. By hiring experienced professional designers to assist with concepts, prototyping and design for mass manufacturing, Tiny Mile will ensure future Geoffreys are compelling, user-centric, environmentally sustainable, resilient and cost effective to produce. And most importantly, that Geoffrey’s presence is accepted by the people it will be sharing the sidewalks with.
While the damage the COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking on the global economy is astronomical, it’s also helping to accelerate the development and commercialization of innovations like Geoffrey that keep us safe by reducing human-to-human contact.