In science fiction, robots have typically been the bad guys, but they are now a common sight in many cities. Autonomous robots are partnering with stores and restaurants to enhance local delivery by utilizing mobile technology.

Cristiane Bonifacio was chasing after a tiny orange flag that was waved close to a line of low garden walls. She was relieved to notice that the white, six-wheeled robot with the flag on top was slowing down and coming to a stop. A large chocolate bar had just been taken by her from the moving robot outside her home. She was in a rush and had to go back inside for a work conference call, but she still had time to express her admiration for the robot delivery service that sent these machines scampering along the pavements of her neighborhood. Amber Case, a resident of Oregon, is an expert on how technology influences daily life and how people and robots interact. Since its launch in Milton Keynes four years ago, Starship Technologies’ robot delivery service has been steadily expanding, with new towns being added just last month.

When you see one, you don’t experience the science-fiction reaction of “Oh no! It’s a robot! ” More than anything, it is a cute little street character. It makes your walk more colorful.