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Taiwan launches self-driving food delivery cart

Willy the self-driving food cart serves customers at Taipei Expo Park

Willy, the self-driving food delivery cart. (CNA, Taiwan Mobile photo)

Willy, the self-driving food delivery cart. (CNA, Taiwan Mobile photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Visitors to the Xinsheng Park Area of Taipei Expo Park should not be surprised to find their food being delivered by a white box with orange doors moving around on its own, reports said Friday (Sept. 17).

Telecom operator Taiwan Mobile developed Willy the self-driving food cart in cooperation with National Taiwan University (NTU) and startup iAuto, CNA reported. The project defeated 60 international teams at the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport to join the six finalists.

Willy did not just deliver food to clients, but also took orders and payments for its services, the report said. Starting Friday, the robot made its way around the 19.5 hectares of the park to take food to customers wishing to eat or drink in the area.

Willy, who is 120 centimeters tall, can take eight meals around with the help of chips, sensors and cameras allowing it to move at a speed of up to 7.2 kph. The customer sends his order through a Taiwan Mobile myfone app, which passes it on to the restaurant and to Willy.

Developers at NTU said the next step would be to combine the food cart with a larger self-driving vehicle, allowing the food to be delivered to clients even further away.