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A Kiwi sidewalk robot at UC Berkeley. Photo: Kaveh Waddell/Axios

Heading back to Axios' San Francisco office after a meeting with a Berkeley professor, I nearly collided with an icebox-sized tub with wheels and a flagpole, sporting Cal colors.

What it's doing: The sidewalk robot is one of around two dozen that roam UC Berkeley and nearby parts of town, delivering food to students and residents. Kiwi, the Berkeley-based company behind this bot, has already made more than 10,000 deliveries, Techcrunch reports.

The details: Place an order through the Kiwi app from one of the participating restaurants and a robot will be delivered by a human in a car to your area.

  • The bot then picks up multiple orders from different restaurants, and a human packs it into an autonomous tricycle (yep!), which pedals the food toward the delivery location.
  • When it's near your home, the trike deploys the delivery bot, which takes the food the rest of the way, sending a notification when it's arrived. You then unlock the bot with the Kiwi app.
  • The delivery fee is less than $4.00. With Kiwi Prime, $14.99 a month will get you unlimited 99-cent deliveries.

Techcrunch has more in this video:

What's next: Kiwi did not respond to interview requests. But expect more of these bots in more places. They've hit regulatory hurdles in some cities — San Francisco temporarily banned them last year and has not yet issued new permits — but they're popping up in other parts of the region, including San Jose and Stanford, and to the East Coast in D.C. and NYC.

Go deeper

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat down with CNN on Thursday for their first joint interview since the election.

The big picture: In the hour-long segment, the twosome laid out plans for responding to the pandemic, jump-starting the economy and managing the transition of power, among other priorities.

The quick FCC fix that would get more students online

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the pandemic forces students out of school, broadband deployment programs aren't going to move fast enough to help families in immediate need of better internet access. But Democrats at the Federal Communications Commission say the incoming Biden administration could put a dent in that digital divide with one fast policy change.

State of play: An existing FCC program known as E-rate provides up to $4 billion for broadband at schools, but Republican FCC chairman Ajit Pai has resisted modifying the program during the pandemic to provide help connecting students at home.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

America's hidden depression

Biden introduces his pick for Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, on Dec. 1. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Biden faces a fragile recovery that could easily fall apart, as the economy remains in worse shape than most people think.

Why it matters: There is a recovery happening. But it's helping some people immensely and others not at all. And it's that second part that poses a massive risk to the Biden-Harris administration's chance of success.