No, you haven’t traveled to a galaxy far, far away, but yes, that is a droid delivering your food at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)—a gita, to be exact. The unit is part of a robotic food delivery pilot program being launched through OrderAtPHL.com, PHL Food & Shops’ contactless food ordering program. The pilot begins February 22 and runs through April.
The gita, which can carry up to 40 pounds, features a cargo bin to hold guests’ orders. Guests are able to open the bin and remove their items themselves.
“Now more than ever we are looking to be forward-thinking and innovative regarding our contactless ordering options,” said Megan O’Connell, PHL Food & Shops Marketing and Customer Service Manager. “Gita allows our guests to customize their experience by choosing how much or how little human interaction they want when having their food delivered. We are thrilled to offer this feature as part of the seamless contactless ordering experience at PHL.”
The gita robot uses visual sensors to pair to and follow the AtYourGate representative through the airport. The units were developed by Piaggio Fast Forward and have been piloted at several other U.S. airports.
In October, PHL Food & Shops was the first airport program in the U.S. to launch the integrated meal delivery service for passengers using the Grab mobile ordering platform and AtYourGate delivery service. Passengers can order food and merchandise from a variety of PHL concessions by visiting orderatphl.com or using the Grab app from a mobile device and have an AtYourGate team member deliver the items to the passengers’ locations at PHL.
“We think passengers and employees will be pleasantly surprised to see their AtYourGate delivery being handled by a robot,” said O’Connell. “At the end of the pilot, we will look at feedback from customers and from the AtYourGate team members working with the gita to better understand how we can utilize Gita in the future."
Ordering and delivery from Mos Eisley cantina is not currently available.