Consumers’ next Slurpee and snacks delivery order from 7-Eleven could arrive via robot.
The convenience retailer has partnered with food-tech startup Serve Robotics to launch autonomous robot delivery.
The tech company confirmed with Food On Demand that its self-driving robots have been delivering orders for the convenience retail chain for a few weeks now in Los Angeles.
Orders for robot delivery can be placed through the retailer’s 7NOW app. When customers place a qualifying order, the app alerts them that 7-Eleven and Serve are piloting robot delivery in the area and that their order may be delivered by a robot, followed by retrieval instructions.
Customers are expected to meet the robot outside and enter a three-digit code to access items from the locked robot.
The fee is $2.99 with no tip requirement, whereas a delivery through a human driver is $2.99 with a recommended $3 dollar tip. The robots are designed for short-distance deliveries, ranging from one to three miles, and can typically complete deliveries in about 15 minutes.
7-Eleven has been working with Serve since late 2021, when its investment branch, 7-Ventures, participated in a $13 million seed funding round.
The partnership is just the latest step in Serve’s goal of expanding its last-mile delivery solutions.
Backed by Uber, Serve’s robots have already been delivering food to over 200 restaurants in the Los Angeles area since 2021 through Uber Eats.
Other major retailers that have tested Serve’s robots include Walmart and Pizza Hut. The robotics company hopes to expand its fleet into major U.S. cities in the coming years.
Meanwhile, 7-Eleven continues to experiment with autonomous delivery. In 2021 the retail chain launched autonomous delivery in Mountain View, California, through the robotics company Nuro. That same year 7-Eleven stores in South Korea started testing sidewalk delivery robots by tech-startup Neubility.