Kiwibot, a Colombia-based robotics startup, in residence at the University of California, Berkeley’s Skydeck accelerator, is expanding to San Jose, California. Starting today the company will begin delivering food and goods to patrons in downtown San Jose in partnership with Shopify and Ordermark.
The expansion is part of the company’s strategic shift to a business-to-business API that allows any business to connect to the platform. Shopify and Ordermark are the company’s first partners under this new model.
Any business using the Shopify and Ordermark platforms can add the Kiwibot API so their goods can be delivered directly to consumers. The company says they will initially deploy around 25 semi-autonomous robots.
The bots come equipped with multiple HD cameras, LTE, GPS, and a variety of other sensors. They are powered by NVIDIA Jetson TX2 systems. The next iteration of Kiwibot, version 4.0, will be powered by NVIDIA Jetson Xavier systems. Xavier will allow them to add more sensors, cameras, and even lidar, and transition to a more autonomous operation. Kiwibot 4.0 is expected to arrive later this year.
Jetson makes it possible for Kiwibot to run their neural networks. “We have a neural network to make sure the robot is centered on the sidewalk and for obstacle avoidance. We can also use it for traffic lights. The GPU has allowed us to experiment,” Kiwi co-founder and CEO Felipe Chavez told NVIDIA when the company began tests in the San Francisco-Bay Area.
Chavez says the company trained their robots using simulation. They developed their object detection models using the MobileNets and DriveNet architectures. The primary deep neural network relies on a CNN-based system to classify events such as street crossing, wall crashes, falls, sidewalk driving, and other common navigation situations.
The current Kiwibot platform is designed for humans and robots working together. It’s intended to make it so that people can service more orders and do it more efficiently. For the launch, engineers in Colombia will help monitor and assist the robots as they move through the new terrain in real-time.
Learn more about artificial intelligence for robotics using NVIDIA Jetson.