12/03/2021 Robotic Startup Branches Into Grocery With New Delivery Bot
Coco’s latest remote-operated vehicle to debut at Erewhon Market
Coco has launched COCO 1, a larger, more advanced version of its signature pink bot.
Robot-based food delivery service Coco has partnered with micro-mobility hardware manufacturer Segway on the design and manufacture of the new COCO 1, a larger, more advanced version of the tech company’s signature pink bot. With its increased carrying capacity, the COCO 1 will deliver larger orders for a wider range of merchants, including grocers.
Since the Californian brand’s official launch in 2020, Coco has established itself with more than 50 merchants across almost every major neighborhood in the Los Angeles area. With the increased capabilities of the COCO 1, the tech startup will be able to expand outside this area, making grocery shopping more convenient and accessible in any major city.
Compared with the current model, the COCO 1 offers a number of added features, including a more efficient drivetrain and a larger battery capacity that allows for an increased delivery radius of up to 3 miles, nearly double the radius of the original model. The new bot also features multiple cameras and sensors to assist remote pilots in safely navigating around traffic and obstructions and to efficiently plan delivery routes.
Holding up to four full grocery bags, the COCO 1 will make its debut with Los Angeles-based family-owned grocer Erewhon Market, making itself available to at all seven locations across the city.
“At Coco, our merchants’ needs are at the forefront of all design and development decisions. With COCO 1 we applied merchant feedback to increase carrying capacity, allowing for larger food, grocery and pizza deliveries while also improving vehicle efficiency to decrease delivery times,” said Zach Rash, co-founder and CEO of Santa Monica, Calif-based Coco. “With faster speeds, more stable driving, increased delivery radius and a larger vehicle, we’re very excited to provide a better experience for both our customers and merchants.”
Coco is planning to deploy thousands of the COCO 1 robots to serve local merchants in various cities over the next few months.
“Amidst the ongoing labor shortage and growing demand for delivery robots, we believe that Coco is embarking on an exciting journey in a blue-ocean market,” said Tony Ho, VP of global business development at Bedford, N.H.-based Segway, which is best known for its two-wheeled, self-balancing personal transporters. “This collaboration is by far Segway’s largest endeavor in the delivery robotics space. When we thought about expanding into robotic delivery, we knew we wanted to partner with a brand that had similar values as us. We saw that alignment in Coco’s commitment to serving merchants and their customers and are excited to deliver on that commitment by leveraging the safety and sustainability features offered by the Segway RMP [Robotics Mobility Platform].”
The use of various autonomous delivery robots is on the rise. Kiwibot recently teamed with foodservice and facilities management company Sodexo North America to begin offering the service at three university campuses. And 7-Eleven Inc. and Nuro are partnering up to pilot autonomous delivery in Mountain View, Calif. Additionally, Coco recently revealed a partnership with food tech platform C³ (Creating Culinary Communities) and a Series A funding round of $36 million, both of which will support expanding Coco’s last-mile delivery to other major markets and providing new merchant offerings.