GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A remote-controlled chicken delivery cart is causing heads to turn on the West Side of Grand Rapids.
The vehicle marked “special delivery” takes rotisserie chickens cooked at the Meijer on Alpine Avenue in Walker to Bridge Street Market, which is owned by Meijer, in Grand Rapids. It’s a 3-mile trip.
Sheri Munsell was surprised to see the vehicle when she went to do her grocery shopping.
“I saw it in the store. I thought it was very cute,” Munsell said. “I didn’t know what it was but I was like, ‘Oh, that’s cute a little robot.’ And it was just like kind of traveling around the store.”
A spokesperson for Bridge Street Market says the grocer is working with another company on what was described as a “sidewalk delivery service.”
With the project in the testing phase, some are worried about the potential for collisions or distractions for drivers.
“It may be a little bit concerning if it’s like in the bike lanes. Somebody may not be anticipating seeing like a robot chilling in the bike lanes so that may be a little bit of a problem. But other than that… I think people will move around it,” Munsell said.
Annaliese Hohner lives in the area and sees potential in the convenience of a delivery service, especially to provide a no-contact option as the pandemic continues.
“I think it’s actually a pretty cool way in order to transfer resources,” Hohner said.
Hohner also has concerns about the lack of visibility because the cart is painted black and white. It does have lights and turn signals on the bottom.
“My only concern would be if a driver is not paying attention. I don’t necessarily think people will see it as a target to swerve after,” Hohner said.
While we do not yet know exactly how these vehicles will be used, Hohner is excited to see research happening here in West Michigan.
“I think it’s actually a pretty nice idea they came up with and I think it’s kind of cool to watch it,” Hohner said.
More information about the program is expected to be released in the coming days.