Your daily dose of Austin
Smartphone image
Make your inbox more Austin.
Local news and fun, every day 6am.
Pizza bots have started delivering pizzas in select parts of Austin. (Refraction AI)

We've all heard of Southside Flying Pizza's new delivery robots—little "autonomous" bots piloting pizzas to South Congress, Downtown and Travis Heights front doors—but have you seen one in action?

Standing at 4'6", Austonia followed one of the new REV 1 robots on its way to a delivery in the Travis Heights area to see how exactly it functioned.

From food-delivery company, Refraction AI, the bots are the first delivery robots in Austin, outside a short-lived pilot by Starship Robots in 2017. While they say the bots are autonomous, they are still in the pilot program of the program so it requires at least two people to make sure it is functioning properly: someone remotely monitors it and another follows behind the bot.

Following one of the pizza bot's journeys showed that the bots seem to be pretty stable and safe; the robots know how to follow traffic laws and must yield the right of way to pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. It also makes for what feels like a slower delivery process.

The bot does a delivery to the Travis Heights area on Monday. (Laura Figi)

The robots are battery-powered and can only reach a top speed of 15 mph with its three wheels. Refraction AI argues that it doesn't make for a slower delivery time as they can take more efficient routes and don't have to find parking. It is also much faster than walking.

During the mile-long stretch of travel, the robot had to stop a few times and seemed particularly careful around cars. Impressively, yet still, very slowly, the bot tackled an enormous hill on East Live Oak Street that some cars would struggle to climb.

Inside the little boxy carts is 16 cubic feet of storage, which can fit around six bags of groceries, or several pizzas.

Customers living in the participating neighborhoods can order delivery bots, which deliver curbside. When the bot arrives at its delivery location, customers get their pizza by entering a special opening code provided to customers.

Deliveries with the robots officially kicked off Monday.


Airport braces for high traffic this month with ACL and F1 drawing in travelers

(AUS airport/Instagram)

With major entertainment events slated for October, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is gearing up for a busy month.

Keep ReadingShow less
With deposition and trial looming, Elon Musk has offered $44B for Twitter, again

Elon Musk has proposed once again to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share.

The news that Musk is offering to carry on with the $44 billion buyout was first reported by Bloomberg. Now, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows Musk made the proposal in a letter to the tech giant on Monday.

The New York Stock Exchange temporarily halted trading in Twitter stock twice Tuesday, first because of a big price move and the second time for a news event, presumably the announcement of Musk's renewed offer.

While the per share offer price on this latest proposal remains the same as the original offer, it’s unclear if Musk has made other term changes or if Twitter would reject it. According to other reports, a deal could be reached this week.

The stock closed at $52.00/share Tuesday, indicating market uncertainty around the $54.20 offer.

After Musk informed Twitter of plans to terminate the original agreement in July, Twitter sued. A trial has been expected in Delaware Chancery Court on Oct. 17.

With the proposition of a buyout on the table again, it revives the question of whether Musk might move Twitter from San Francisco to Central Texas.

He’s done so with some of his other companies. Tesla’s headquarters in southeast Travis County had its grand opening earlier this year and tunneling business The Boring Company moved to Pflugerville. At least two other Musk companies, SpaceX and Neuralink, have a Central Texas presence without being headquartered here.

Technology journalist Nilay Patel this afternoon voiced concerns that owning Twitter and Tesla together could be problematic for Musk, as his Tesla manufacturing facilities in Germany and China are both in countries that have disputes with Twitter over content moderation and censorship.

Telsa shares fell after the Twitter news became public, before rallying to close up, at $249.44.