Kicks, pranks, dog pee: The hard life of food delivery robots

A Coco food delivery robot tries to make its way through a Los Angeles crowd protesting Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 26, 2022. Delivery robots have become popular subjects of online fail videos showing them crashing down stairs, crashing into a fire hydrant and shooting up a ramp too fast. And crashing. — Los Angeles Times/TNS

UCLA environmental law professor Sean Hecht was walking across the campus one recent night when he photographed a uniquely modern urban transport scene: a snarl of food delivery robots that couldn’t figure out a way around a pile of discarded electric scooters.

Bystanders tried to help by moving the scooters but became irritated at the lack of response, probably not realising that the Starship Technologies bots — deferential to their AMD Ryzen cores — weren’t going to budge until the humans stopped crossing back and forth in front of them.

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