Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport launches food delivery by robot

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Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport has launched a new robot that will deliver food to travelers in Terminal 1 as part of a pilot program aimed at encouraging contactless ordering during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In partnership with airport food delivery platforms AtYourGate and Grab, which launched at MSP Airport in 2019, airport food delivery portal MSP ASAP now offers contactless food delivery via the rolling droid, named Gita (pronounced jee-tah).

“There is convenience and safety for customers to be able to order food from their phones or laptops, and within 15 to 30 minutes, the Gita rolls up and opens its cargo doors for the customers to grab their order,” said Eric Johnson, director of commercial management and airline affairs for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which operates MSP Airport. “It’s fun and whimsical, but there is also a purpose behind the technology for customers to feel more confident in avoiding queue lines and having their orders delivered.”

Using visual sensing technology, the Gita follows an AtYourGate delivery staff member to reach customers. The droid can carry orders up to 18kg, making it possible to deliver to more than one customer at a time. Order demand and locations factor into when and where the Gita is dispatched. It currently offers delivery from 17 restaurants and food vendors.

“We see Gita as the first step toward introducing robotics as an innovative and safe new option for passengers who shop and dine while at MSP,” said AtYourGate co-founder Chris Hartman. “Plus, the surprise and delight moments created when guests meet Gita for the first time provide a terrific opportunity for the AtYourGate team to promote the MSP ASAP experience.”

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With over a decade of experience as a business and technology journalist working in B2B publishing, Hazel first joined UKi in 2011. After taking 18 months off to bring up her daughter and try her hand at marketing copywriting, she returned in January 2018 to do what she loves best – magazine editing! She is now the editor of UKi's Passenger Terminal World and Parcel and Postal Technology International magazines.

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