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Food delivery robots are coming

Starship Technologies's self-driving delivery robots are coming to D.C. and Redwood City, Calif., the company said on Wednesday. Starship has partnered with delivery startups DoorDash and Postmates for these test programs, which will be available in select parts of the cities.

Starship's robots will be a delivery options when DoorDash and Postmates customers in specific areas order. They'll be able to track their robot via mobile.

These will be Starship's first U.S.-based tests, though it's already debuted pilot programs in Europe through partnerships with local food delivery services.

Not so fast: At first, the robots won't be entirely autonomous—Starship employees will be able to pilot them when needed as the company's mapping is still being improved, the company told tech news site The Verge.

Why it matters: Automating delivery has become a huge topic of discussion in the so-called "on-demand" industry. Paying people for deliveries is expensive, and as self-driving technology progresses, companies are looking to it to make lower costs and increase efficiency.