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Tech Tracker: Chick-fil-A’s robots take on a life of their own

The quick-service restaurant chain’s tests begin in Texas, California and Florida


Chick-fil-A is testing another version of delivery using autonomous bots.

The Atlanta-based restaurant chain said it is testing a fleet of delivery robots in a limited number of units in California, Texas and Florida. In Austin, Texas, the test is in partnership with Refraction AI.

The goal is to cut delivery costs and enhance restaurant operations, Chick-fil-A said in announcing the test.

The insulated robots can travel up to 15 miles per hour, and are able to navigate through traffic, pedestrians, car and bike lanes, mall parking lots and sidewalks to designated drop-off spots, the company said.

During the test period, “safety chasers” follow the vehicles to ensure a smooth journey and answer questions, as well as learning how to improve the experience. Guests are alerted by text when the robot arrives, along with instructions for retrieving their order.

It’s not the first time Chick-fil-A has tested delivery bots. Last year, the company tested the use of Kiwibots, four-wheeled semi-autonomous rovers, in Southern California. The company said tests are ongoing in California and Florida, but officials declined to disclose the other robot partners they are working with.

NRN editor Joanna Fantozzi walks you through why the company is using these robots and what they’ll do in this episode of Tech Tracker.

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