About Us

Make a Donation
Fully-Local • Non-Partisan • Public-Service Journalism

Helpful robots invade downtown

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 by Tai Moses

A fleet of 10 personal delivery devices – i.e., robots – are being implemented throughout the South Congress District and surrounding neighborhoods to help with last-mile deliveries like takeout meals, packages and grocery store orders. The three-wheeled Rev-1 robots, which take up about as much space as a person on a bicycle, are owned by Refraction AI and are supervised by a remote operator “using a host of sensors and cameras.” The nimble, busy bots have arrived in Austin thanks to a May 2017 resolution in which City Council directed city staffers “to explore the robotic delivery model” in an effort to reduce traffic and single-driver car trips. A complementary resolution in August 2017 outlined the parameters of a pilot program for the robots. The Rev-1s are currently being escorted by Refraction AI team members, who are “happy to answer any questions you may have when you see them out and about,” cheerfully performing their duties.

Join Your Friends and Neighbors

We're a nonprofit news organization, and we put our service to you above all else. That will never change. But public-service journalism requires community support from readers like you. Will you join your friends and neighbors to support our work and mission?

Back to Top