Philadelphia airport offers robot food delivery to travelers

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The future is now – at least at the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).

On Monday, the airport launched a robotic food delivery program using gita robots developed by Piaggio Fast Forward.

Each gita robot can hold up to 40 pounds in its cargo bin, where customers’ orders are kept.

“Now more than ever we are looking to be forward-thinking and innovative regarding our contactless ordering options,” Megan O’Connell, PHL Food & Shops marketing and customer service manager, said in a statement. “Gita allows our guests to customize their experience by choosing how much or how little human interaction they want when having their food delivered.”

The gita robots are a temporary addition to the airport’s existing contactless ordering program, which it launched in October in partnership with the AtYourGate delivery service. 

When a traveler at PHL orders food from one of the airport’s restaurants or shops through OrderAtPHL.com, or the app, they can choose the robotic delivery option for a fee of $2.99, according to PhillyVoice.

Once their food is ready, the gita is loaded up and follows an AtYourGate employee through the airport – using visual sensors and Bluetooth – to the traveler who made the order. 

The gita program started on Monday and will run through April, according to the Philadelphia airport.

The robot has also been piloted at other U.S. airports, PHL said in its announcement.

“We think passengers and employees will be pleasantly surprised to see their AtYourGate delivery being handled by a robot,” O’Connell said. “At the end of the pilot, we will look at feedback from customers and from the AtYourGate team members working with the gita to better understand how we can utilize gita in the future.”

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