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Personal Tragedy Drives Student to Create Autonomous Delivery Robot


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Ebtehal Alotaibi and a Pixie robot outside the Bayes Centre at the University of Edinburgh

Ebtehal Alotaibi hopes to ready the Pixie food delivery robot for road trials.

Ebtehal Alotaibi, an AI and robotics student at the University of Edinburgh, used a personal tragedy as motivation to build an autonomous vehicle. After losing an aunt in a car accident caused by driver error, Alotaibi wanted to develop an autonomous taxi. On advice she created two custom-built robots to deliver food from the university's cafe to students across the Edinburgh campus.

Developed through Alotaibi's company Pixconvey, the Pixie 1 and Pixie 2 robots can navigate roads, traffic lights, and pedestrian crossings. A Pixconvey app will be integrated with the Upay payment app so that customers can specify a delivery's time and location.

Catering staff load food into the robot's cargo hold, and the Pixie makes the delivery autonomously. Once a customer removes their order, the robot will return to the catering area.

Alotaibi hopes the food-delivery trial on campus will pave the way for road trials of the robots.

From The Herald (Scotland)
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