Vending machines have always been there in the clutch when we need a snack on the go. Soon, they all may even be able to roll over to where we are and dispense the grub we crave.
Photo courtesy of Pepsico
Pepsico has just teamed up with Robby Technologies to create snackbot, a self-driving vending machine that can be summoned across a wide space. Currently, the first ever fleet of these is deployed at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, where students can call on them between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily.
Students there with an IOS app and a university e-mail can summon one of the bots, who have 50 different preset locations on campus they can show up at. Once there, it’ll open up and you can purchase whatever snacks it has available. Pepsico currently has it stocked with healthier options, like Baked Lay’s chips, Sun Chips, and bottles of Starbucks Cold Brew coffee.
The robots themselves can drive up to 20 miles on a single charge, including in the rain and while it’s dark. They’re also equipped with all wheel drive that makes more difficult terrain obstacles, including steep climbs, possible to traverse.
Pepsico eventually hopes to have 50,000 different touch points available for the robots across a much broader space by the end of the year. Their aim is to be able to provide 24/7 access to snacks and drinks that may not otherwise be available.
Currently, the robot appears to only be able to provide shelf-stable snacks, but if refrigeration technology was equipped one day, this could be a novel and interesting way to tackle food deserts. Having a fleet of snackbots carrying fresh produce around to those who need it would be huge for areas that lack such access.