Postmates has employed Apple veteran and writer Ken Kocienda as a principal software program engineer at Postmates X, the staff constructing the meals supply firm’s semi-autonomous sidewalk rover, Serve.

Kocienda, writer of “Creative Selection: Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs,” spent 15 years at Apple targeted on human interface design, collaborating with engineers to develop the primary iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. Kocienda left Apple in 2017 to deal with his e-book.

Now, he’s picked Postmates as his subsequent venture, citing the staff’s spirit and power as motivation for becoming a member of.

“My goal throughout my career has not been technology for the sake of opportunity, I am interested in making product experiences that people out in the world will find useful and meaningful,” Kocienda tells TechCrunch. “It’s not about the technology or just the design, it’s about the technology and design coming together.”


Postmates unveiled Serve, their human-like supply robotic, in December. The semi-autonomous rover makes use of cameras and lidar to navigate sidewalks and may carry 50 kilos for as much as 25 miles after one cost. To guarantee security, the staff has a human pilot remotely monitoring the Serve fleets, and every rover has a “Help” button, touchscreen and video chat show for purchasers or passers-by to make use of if crucial. The firm mentioned that they had deliberate to roll out the bots in 2019, although no pilots have been formally introduced but.

Kocienda mentioned he’s engaged on quite a lot of duties throughout the Postmates X staff. Just yesterday, he was targeted on creating extra expressions for the robotic.

“We are spending a lot of time going in and refining and inventing new ways that Serve can communicate,” he mentioned. “It’s not like we are a robotics startup. We have a business rolling, so part of what is interesting to me is that we can mine the data we have and use the intelligence we have to improve the [Serve] experience end-to-end.”

The function of Postmates’ incoming fleet of semi-autonomous rovers is to not get rid of the function of human drivers however to make their routes extra environment friendly. If, say, a Postmates buyer orders meals from a close-by restaurant, Serve may decide up the meals, doubtlessly even get again right into a automotive with a human driver, then get again out of the automotive to finish the last-mile supply. This saves the driving force from sitting in visitors and will get the client their meals a lot quicker, ideally.

One questions how people may reply to those rovers, nonetheless, if they’re roaming…

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