Rolling Reuse Robot

Rolling Reuse Robot (the 3 R’s) is the food delivery robot that delivers takeout with reusable packaging, eliminating single-use plastic.

Photo of Isabella He
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Please confirm you meet the following criteria

  • We have submitted the supplemental form linked in the description above
  • We are aged between 14 - 20 as of February 11, 2021
  • We live in the United States or its territories (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa)
  • We are not employed by, or directly related (parents or siblings) to a current General Motors (GM) or Ashoka employee
  • We have been working on this project for at least three months
  • We consent to Ashoka and/or GM featuring our work on their website, social media, and in other materials regarding this Challenge using the information in our application
  • We confirm we have the rights to use and share any content uploaded on this entry form

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Website: https://rollingreuserobot.wixsite.com/home Instagram: @rollingreuserobot Email: rollingreuserobot@gmail.com

Date You Started Your Project

10/24/2020

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

"On average, every order includes at least 4 plastic bags and boxes to pack the food, plus disposable chopsticks, spoons and napkins.” Food delivery has exploded worldwide, especially during COVID-19 pandemic as customers are forced to dine at home. Food delivery brings convenience, but it also brings adverse effects from single-use plastic pollution. It contributes to the piles of plastic in landfills and oceans, causing catastrophic effects.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The Rolling Reuse Robot (RRR), our take on the 3 R’s of sustainability, is a food delivery and dinnerware/utensils pickup robot that is designed to hold food steadily on dinner plates, bowls and a full set of reusable utensils. The RRR robot brings food to the customer in reusable packaging, collects the utensils/dinnerware after the customer eats, then returns it to the restaurant, thus eliminating the need for single-use plastic. The RRR robot expands upon existing artificial intelligence and infrared and photocell sensors in self-navigating robots to execute the plastic-eliminating solution. Specifically, RRR uses the iRobot's AWARE(tm) Robotic Intelligence System to make many decisions for itself, thus requiring minimal human input. The AWARE system, which is made up of multiple sensors to pick up and send environmental data to the RRR, is also used. With our solutions, plastic boxes, forks, spoons and bags are gone. We will build a scalable solution by partnering with delivery apps such as Uber Eats and DoorDash. RRR lowers the delivery cost for such platforms and restaurants, thus incentivizing our partners to abort plastic packages and utensils.

3. Please tell us how you are using science, technology, engineering or math to address your environmental challenge.

The robot will use and improve upon existing engineering and technology in the familiar robot vacuum cleaner, Roomba. The robot will use a logistic infrastructure to operate hundreds of orders simultaneously as well as a pragmatic artificial intelligence approach that allows the robots to work from Day One. While the RRR will be sustainability-focused and incorporate unique, refined features for environmental impact, the technology RRR is based upon has already been deployed and proven successful. For instance, the Kiwibot, a robot that has already delivered more than 30,000 meals, uses similar engineering technologies with lidar sensors and has achieved a delivery cost of less than ⅓ of its human competitors, proving the automated delivery process effective. However, the RRR does what no other robot can do: it makes the food delivery process package and utensil free. Furthermore, our solution will include an app and web interface for restaurants and customers to interact with, thus allowing users to communicate when they are ready for the RRR to drop off or deliver food/packaging.

4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

One night while wishing to support my local businesses, I decided to order takeout from one of my favorite restaurants. When my order arrived and I opened my front door, I immediately felt guilty upon the sight of the plastic boxes carrying my dishes, all wrapped up in a plastic bag that would last longer than my lifetime, yet only served a useful purpose for 45 minutes. While this was a shocking occurrence to me, I began to question, how about the families that can only afford to buy their meals like this, or all the inevitable messed up orders that resulted in double, or even triple the waste amidst the pandemic? Confident that this was something I could fix, I quickly texted our cofounder, expressing this pressing issue that I couldn’t bear to bury in the depths of my mind, and we took initiative, creating the Rolling Reuse Robot.

5. Video (Keep it simple, your phone on selfie-mode is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRwhOWPOU1U

6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.

We have worked hard to build a website, mock-ups for our app and web interface, and develop proof of concepts and prototypes. We have conducted extensive research to determine the underlying technologies in i-Robot and Kiwibot to identify the parts and materials needed to construct the RRR robot. Furthermore, we interviewed dozens of people to pinpoint specific pain points in current food delivery systems to construct our idea and visualize the steps we need to take to bring the RRR to life.

7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

RRR goes a step further and takes on another aspect of sustainability: plastic waste. With reusable dinnerware, our robot eliminates single-use plastic packaging that comes with delivery orders. Restaurants benefit as they no longer have to spend money on these materials and can utilize the plates and utensils they already have. Further, our project targets college students and low-income families, who deliver most of their meals, while raising awareness and promoting a sustainable lifestyle.

8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made.

Through our 20+ interviews, we have determined that our solution would engage customers and interest restaurants and businesses. We have developed our full solution: a platform our partners can integrate that includes APIs for order details such as customer address and expected delivery time, a web application for restaurant/platforms for administration and configuration, a mobile app and web interface for the ordering customers to indicate when they have finished eating, and the RRR robot. We plan on fully developing a working prototype within the next 3-5 months and concurrently conduct further market research to test iterations of our product. From there, we will pursue our collaborations with restaurants and delivery platforms from Grubhub to Postmates. We see $100 million+ potential from a growing market of customers looking for sustainable solutions in convenient food delivery.

9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

We have a three-phased plan for expansion: restaurant/platform certification (1), customer ambassadors (2), and global expansion (3). First, we have developed a certification program for restaurants and platforms to display when they have implemented RRR’s no-plastic, sustainable, innovative service to attract customers. This will entice more partners to join us since our robot’s one-of-a-kind technology is not only intriguing, but economically beneficial and environmentally conscious. Second, we will attract new customers through customer ambassadors who can speak to RRR’s experience. Third, especially in countries like China, whose online food delivery market is valued at $25 billion USD, RRR’s service will be of great use.

10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.

Amidst the pandemic, almost everyone shares the common experience of buying food through a delivery service, and each time their food arrives at their door, they are faced with the unavoidable white plastic bag that holds their food. We aim to connect with young people through this common ground, shedding light on the reality of this situation and our solution. Young people are always looking for a way they can make a positive impact on the world and we are here to help them accomplish that.

11. How would you partner with other changemakers to make a difference?

We at RRR believe in the power of young changemakers to make a difference. We will unleash this power by starting our chapters program. Our chapters will raise awareness about the harms of single-use plastic waste. There is a detrimental gap in knowledge about the harmful effects of plastic that comes in the everyday takeout dinner. Through this strategy, we exponentially increase awareness about the issue that RRR solves and empower young leaders.

12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?

All sustainability movements face an issue of effectively reaching and resonating with the public. To overcome this, we will go straight to the source: the restaurants and delivery services. Speaking directly with restaurant managers and delivery service officials, we will not only draw light on the impact their current practices have, but also pose a solution to their problems. Offering a trial period of our robots will give them a chance to test, and fall in love with our Rolling Reuse Robot.

13. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors

14. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you? You’ll be able to select only one option.

  • Research

Are you employed, or directly related (grand-parents, parents, sibling) to a GM or Ashoka employee?

  • No

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or General Motors, who was it?

ACSEF Science Fair

Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

Yes, absolutely! - 25%

Probably - 25%

Maybe - 50%

Probably not - 0%

No - 0%

2. CONNECTION to Environmental Sustainability

5 - Absolutely! It is totally clear that the solution is contributing directly to environmental sustainability and/or addressing climate change - 25%

4 — Yes, it establishes a connection to environment/ climate change but could be stronger - 75%

3 — Somewhat, the entry speaks to this environmental sustainability, but the direct impact is not well established - 0%

2 — Not really, the connection to environment/ climate is very weak - 0%

1 — No. The entry does not have a reference the solution’s impact on environment and/or climate change - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

3. Is this entry CREATIVE?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 75%

4 - Yes, I think so - 0%

3 - Maybe - 25%

2 - Probably not. - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Does this entry demonstrate a COMMITMENT to changemaking?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 33.3%

4 - Yes, I think so - 100%

3 - Maybe - 0%

2 - Probably not - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Does this entry value CHANGEMAKING through collaboration with other stakeholders in its approach?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 25%

4 - Yes, I think so - 25%

3 - Maybe - 50%

2 - Probably not - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

6. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 0%

4- Yes, I think so - 0%

3- Maybe - 100%

2- Probably not - 0%

1- No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

7. FEEDBACK: What are the strengths of this project?

CONNECTION: You have a great understanding and personal connection to the problem - 50%

CREATIVITY: You have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions to aid environmental sustainability/combat climate change - 50%

COMMITMENT: You have a thoughtful plan for growing your business, and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 25%

CHANGEMAKER QUALITY: You value thinking around how to activate other changemakers and empower them to care about your cause. You also have a clearly defined plan on how to collaborate across multiple stakeholders - 100%

IMPACT MEASUREMENT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 50%

VIABLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 25%

Other option - 0%

8. FEEDBACK: What are some areas for improvement for this project?

CONNECTION: Why you care about the environment/ climate was unclear – It would be great to elaborate on what this solution means to you, personally and how it affects you and/or your community. - 0%

CREATIVITY: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 33.3%

COMMITMENT: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 33.3%

CHANGEMAKER QUALITY: Try to provide more insights into how you are activating changemakers and empowering them to innovate through your product or programming. How will they care about environment/climate if they currently do not? Think about how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 0%

IMPACT MEASUREMENT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 33.3%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 100%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 0%

Other option - 0%

2 comments

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Spam
Photo of Justin Anderson
Team

Interesting concept! I’m wondering how you are planning on getting the RRR in traffic since we are still a long ways away from sharing the road with driverless vehicles in the U.S.

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