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KFC levels up fast-food game with self-driving food trucks in China

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Nov 27, 2020 6:12 pm

People are well-aware of how restaurants have been going the extra mile to serve their patrons while observing the safety protocols of the pandemic. But one thing many of us didn’t expect just yet is a self-driving delivery truck—with loads of finger-lickin' fried chicken in them.

These mini robo-cars are owned by fast-food giant KFC and are built with self-driving or autonomous capability supported by 5G network.

According to a Twitter post by user @Shaghaineko on November 17, these mini-vehicles were seen near a metro station in Shanghai, China.

The vehicles took the residents by surprise, as they began to roll through the streets without an announcement beforehand, without drivers inside, but full of food. 

The future is here, as KFC China recently rolled out its self-operating restaurant on wheels. Photo from @Shaghaineko on Twitter.

How does it work? @Shaghaineko says that customers must pick their selection on the menu flashed on the screen attached on the vehicle’s roof. Payment is done by pointing the camera of their mobile device to a QR code. 

Once they finish the transaction, one of the side doors open, allowing the customer to get their orders. It is still unclear, though, how they are prevented from getting more than what they paid for.

All these are done without any interaction with a human, therefore reducing the risk of virus transmission.

According to CNET, these mini-vehicles are a collaboration between Neolix, a Chinese company manufacturing autonomous vehicles, and Yum Brands, which operates KFC in China. Its launch came shortly after Forbes reported on October 30 that Neolix had begun working with Yum for a “restaurant on wheels” project for KFC and Pizza Hut.

The Neolix vehicle was engineered for efficiency. Photo from soyacincau.com

Aside from its ability to eliminate human-to-human interaction, the Neolix vehicle is rigged out with impressive futuristic features.

It supports Level 4 autonomous driving, which allows it to detect and avoid obstacles through its sensors. It has a mileage of 100km on a single charge and a maximum speed of 50km/h.

Additionally, its battery can be swapped after a full-day operation in just 30 seconds without any tools needed.

Check out how it works here: