ADA is the first delivery robot to call an elevator in Brazil

Find out how this friendly little robot evolved to make autonomous deliveries and help delivery drivers

We have already seen that there is some little robots doing delivery around the world, in shopping malls and universities. But very Brazilian ADA goes further — and now calls the elevator alone to deliver the order.

Result of a partnership between iFood and Synkar (Brazil's first autonomous delivery startup), the ADA robot debuted in 2021 to optimize the work of delivery men and women and is constantly evolving. Today there are five ADAs, which are located between the iFood office and Synkar's headquarters in Ribeirão Preto.

His latest achievement is delivering to buildings, taking the elevator and everything. “It is important for it to be able to operate in a vertical condominium, covering the last mile of delivery, which is the route between the reception and customers”, explains Estella Araújo, from the sustainability area at iFood.

The evolution of the ADA robot

The ability to call the elevator was developed and tested at iFood's headquarters, in Osasco. There, ADA has so far made ten deliveries in this way. And it's always getting better. 

“It is a sustainable mode in development”, emphasizes Estela. “We are looking for innovations for ADA, following what other robots of this type have done in the international market.”

“The escalation of clean deliveries In delivery, a lot involves discovering disruptive and innovative projects”, says Bruno Pieroni, sustainability coordinator at iFood. “Within this vision, the ADA project has the potential to be one of the paths towards the decarbonization of our operations in the future.”

The evolution of ADA

ADA began its work on smart delivery by iFood in 2021, at the Iguatemi shopping center in Ribeirão Preto. There, she made the first mile of deliveries, picking up orders from restaurants that were furthest from the food court and taking them to the hub where delivery people picked up the food.

In 2022, the little robot was tested in a condominium of houses, also in Ribeirão Preto. There, he transported orders in the last mile of deliveries: between the reception and the customers' doors.

This year, ADA had to face a new challenge: riding an elevator to make completely autonomous deliveries to buildings, without human assistance. For this to happen, it was necessary to understand how to establish a connection system between it and the elevator — something unprecedented in Brazil and Latin America.

The solution was completed in August 2023. “Today it is completely stable, safe and functional”, says Estella. “ADA is the first delivery robot that can go up an elevator autonomously.”

But what does the ADA call the elevator?

For ADA to take the elevator, a little preparation was required. An IoT (Internet of Things) device was installed in the engine room at iFood headquarters. It is through this device that ADA notifies you that you need to use the elevator.

The IoT system then establishes a connection between ADA's artificial intelligence and the elevator's automation mechanism, informing the floor and room to which the robot will deliver. 

Based on this information, the elevator will take you to your destination, including the waiting time for the doors to enter and exit the cabin.

Integration with a digital menu

In addition to this integration with the elevator, ADA gained another function: a connection with Anota AI, an order automation system with a virtual attendant for social networks, digital menu and order manager.

At iFood's headquarters, QR Codes were distributed with a link to Anota AI's WhatsApp. “Whoever wants to place an order scans this QR Code and enters a WhatsApp conversation”, explains Estella. “In this conversation, select the order items from the menu and indicate which room ADA should deliver to.”

The order manager is also connected to the building's cafeteria, which will receive the demand to prepare the food or drink and then send it through the robot.

When it arrives at its destination, ADA notifies you, via a voice system, that it is there to make the delivery. “She doesn’t enter the room, she stops at the door and waits for the person to come and collect the order,” says Estella. Then, ADA automatically returns to the cafeteria, where she will wait for her next mission.

Another innovation made possible for ADA at the iFood headquarters is the autonomous charging of its batteries – the robot itself moves to the station where it will be recharged. It is an improvement that will facilitate the operation of ADA in large residential or office condominiums.

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