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Home POLITICS Food delivery robot casually drives under police tape, through active crime scene

Food delivery robot casually drives under police tape, through active crime scene

Screenshot 2022-09-15 at 5

Image: Film the Police LA

A delivery robot in Hollywood said fuck the police earlier this week, when he decided that no police tape or crime scene was going to stop him from delivering food to a customer.

In a video posted by the popular police transparency account Film the Police LA, a delivery robot from Serve Robotics, which is under contract with Uber Eats, is shown driving directly under the police tape and through what, at the time , was considered an active crime. scene at Hollywood High School, where a school shooting occurred It is suspected that it just happened. The shooting was later ruled a hoax, though students said the event was obviously still traumatizing.

“Our standard operating procedure is to redirect and not cross barrier tapes,” a Serve Robotics spokesperson told Motherboard in an email. “However, in this case, the robot supervisor believed they were being greeted. We are taking steps to ensure our operating procedures are followed going forward.”

In the video, someone standing near the treadmill lifts it up for the robot to pass under. A passerby can then be heard saying “what if there’s a bomb?” “That’s going to be the easiest way to bomb people, it’s the robot,” another person replies. “Here’s a TNT delivery for you,” the first person replies. A Lime electric scooter is on its side next to the robot.

This is not an unjustified fear. In 2016, Dallas police strapped explosives to a bomb disposal robot, drove it toward a suspected mass shooter, and then detonated it, killing the man.

In the past two years, a handful of delivery robot companies have popped up in Los Angeles, which are essentially remotely piloted (or autonomous, in some cases) cooler-shaped chests on wheels. The problems associated with these robots vary: In Santa Monica, a company called Coco has essentially turned food delivery into a video game. Delivery “drivers” pilot the robots remotely, using an Xbox controller and using an array of cameras to help guide them. Serve Robotics explains that its robots operate with “level 4 autonomy,” meaning they are completely autonomous in certain areas.

Screenshot 2022-09-15 at 5.55.31 PM.png

Image: Santa Monica Police Department

In a city that is already extremely treacherous to pedestrians and cyclists, delivery robots largely operate on Los Angeles’ already understaffed and crowded sidewalks, taking up space and generally annoying people walking their dogs or they try to use a shared public infrastructure.

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Earlier this year, Motherboard filed a public records request with Santa Monica, which first implemented Coco’s delivery robots and found that police and pedestrians often didn’t know how to interact with the robots.

A police report obtained by Motherboard shows that in March 2021, a man approached a Coco delivery robot and proceeded to “grab the robot with both hands, place it on its head and throw it to the sidewalk. [The man] he yelled at the robot, kicked it and walked south on Main St. out of sight.” Motherboard also obtained records of residents complaining to the city “about CoCo Box delivery robots blocking the sidewalk for pedestrians.”

Depending on how you look at this incident, it’s funny, disturbing, dystopian, and we’re likely to see a lot more.

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