Food Delivery Robots Are Taking Over The Streets Of LA, And So Is Vandalism And Theft

The streets of Los Angeles have become a testing ground for food delivery robots introduced by a startup last year. However, this technological advancement has come with unexpected consequences, as incidents of vandalism and theft targeting these robots are rising.

Local broadcaster KTLA 5 has reported vandalism and theft targeting these delivery robots. Video evidence captured on platforms like TikTok portrays instances of people physically assaulting the robots, including kicking, pushing, and even breaking into their mobile coolers to steal food. The prevalence of such videos on social media highlights the audacity of these acts, which range from the bizarre to the destructive.

Local businesses have begun to feel the impact of this “bot crime.” Steve Avila, the general manager of Blu Jam CafĂ©, acknowledged the challenges when robots carrying orders are tampered with. The inconvenience of having to remake orders due to theft and vandalism is evident, but fortunately, reimbursement for these instances somewhat mitigates the losses. Avila also recognizes the potential financial strain on delivery companies, given the high cost of the robots.

Online platforms like TikTok have become platforms for showcasing these instances of robot vandalism. Accounts like “Film the Robots LA” have emerged, showcasing videos capturing the acts of vandalism with a touch of humor and defiance. Such videos depict individuals reaching into the robot’s compartments to steal food, toppling them over, and even using them as unconventional seats.

Despite the growing incidents of vandalism, Serve Robotics, the startup responsible for deploying these robots, remains steadfast in its commitment. They report an impressive 99.9 percent completion rate for their deliveries, serving over 200 restaurants in Los Angeles. Furthermore, the company plans to expand its robot fleet within the city and extend its reach to Dallas, San Jose, and Vancouver locations.

As these robots spread to other locales, the peculiar encounters between technology and human behavior will likely repeat, offering a glimpse into the evolving relationship between society and automation.

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