May 19, 2020

Postmates wants you to chaperone its delivery robots

Only Mario Kart can train you for this.

Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

How did the delivery robot cross the road? Turns out: With the help of a human supervisor

The snazziest job at Postmates right now is “autonomous robot guide,” and hiring is on the up and up. Since mid-March, as demand for delivery bots has surged across the country, Postmates has brought on 30% more human robot supervisors.

These employees keep the bots from plowing through stop lights or knocking down toddlers in their paths. They used to do the job from the office, but these days, it’s all from their home computers.

Only Mario Kart can train you for this 

Many of the cities that allow deliveries robots have one big restriction: Every bot needs a human chaperone.

Although we’d prefer to picture a human striding down the street alongside a roving cooler-on-wheels delivery bot — arguably the perfect setup for a Hollywood buddy comedy — chaperones usually work remotely.

They watch a livestream of their bots navigating traffic, and they rate the robots’ choices with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. 

Humans always override the bot with a remote control during the 1st and final 15 feet of any delivery — but if need be, they can jump in at any moment of the delivery. 

And when they do, they can finally say that all those years navigating Yoshi through Rainbow Road paid off.

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