Ottobot at service in an airport

Ottobot by Ottonomy at service in an airport

Technology  |  Column  |  Interview

Airport snack ‘on its way’: here comes Ottobot, the robot delivery

Programmed to navigate in crowded environments such as car parks and airports, Ottobot is Ottonomy.IO's autonomous retail delivery vehicle already present in Europe and North America. The start-up selected for the Aeroporti di Roma Innovation Hub comes from the United States and is the new story for Infra Journal's 'Rocket' column

Ottobot: a small, fully-automated robot, is the innovation that Ottonomy.IO is introducing to the market as a service for food and retail delivery in crowded environments, including airports. Selected to participate in the Aeroporti di Roma (ADR) ‘Call for Ideas’ within the Innovation Hub inaugurated last October in the ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ airport, this start-up will be able to benefit from the investments offered by ADR to support innovative ideas. Ottobot is the technological solution the start-up offers in response to the needs of the business world that have changed dramatically during the pandemic period, especially on the delivery order front. Ottonomy is a story for ‘Rocket’, Infra Journal’s column dedicated to the stories of young, innovative entrepreneurs.

What problem does your start-up want to solve? And how did your idea come about?

“Ottonomy.IO was created in the midst of the pandemic, a time when there was a 700% increase in online food and grocery delivery orders. Ottonomy's core team was formed by pooling more than 50 years of experience to develop ‘Ottobot’, the first fully autonomous robot capable of delivering retail products, food and beverages to any airport and making the deliveries from the first to the last mile. The unprecedented drop in business caused by the pandemic in 2020 has put a strain on the hospitality and catering industry, and our team designed an innovative high-tech solution to compensate for the labour shortage.”

What is the story of your start-up?

“Ottonomy enables fully autonomous robotic deliveries (via Ottobot) for the airport, retail and restaurant sectors, using robotics-as-a-service, a RaaS business model. The Ottobots started operating during the 2020 pandemic and are able to navigate smoothly in both indoor and outdoor environments, especially in crowds and congested areas.”

What results have you achieved so far?

“The Ottobots were commercially launched at the Cincinnati-Covington, Kentucky, airport in December 2021. Today, we are an award-winning company that has expanded globally into Europe, Canada and Italy, with further launches and partnerships planned for 2023.”

How does the technology behind your innovation work?

“Leveraging experience from the industrial automation and autonomous platform sectors, we developed a software stack (independent software subsystems that together enable the execution of an application, ed.) to successfully navigate complex environments, including extremely dense and crowded ones such as airports and car parks. The Ottobots create a ‘digital map’ of the service area and locate themselves within that map. Their location is updated in real time on the map as they navigate to deliver orders. Ottonomy's ecosystem allows partners and corporate customers to launch, manage and control their robot fleet using a Network Operation Console that can be easily integrated with their existing POS (Point of Sale) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system.”

What are the quantifiable benefits of your solution (in airport management / passenger experience)?

“Companies are facing unprecedented labour shortages coupled with rising wages. Ottonomy's fully autonomous delivery robots help organisations reduce staffing challenges and provide a more cost-effective delivery solution, while improving the passenger experience and ensuring the highest service levels.”

What market opportunities have you found and what strengths do you think make the content of your project attractive? 

“Ottonomy has formed several strategic partnerships with world leaders in robotics management, operations and support, enabling us to rapidly increase the deployment of robots in airports and restaurants around the world.”

What is the added value that your young start-up can offer, in its way of working and thinking, both in comparison to more established ones in the market and in open innovation with more structured ones?

“The overall Ottonomy.IO system is a highly scalable and flexible solution that uses a comprehensive suite of tools to manage a fleet of robots distributed in different geographical areas. Ottonomy.IO's management expertise in the development of autonomous platform-based solutions for industrial customers enables the company to identify and develop autonomous robotics innovations and rapidly deploy the necessary support to enterprise customers.”

What are the next steps you intend to take (in the business acceleration process)? And what goals do you set for yourself in the medium to long term?

“Ottonomy.IO is in negotiations with several retailers, restaurants and airports around the world with the intention of using Ottobots for retail and food deliveries, and our technology is currently being evaluated for several areas of use by one of the world's largest retailers.”


What is Rocket

'Rocket' is Infra Journal's column dedicated to the most interesting start-ups in the world of infrastructuremobility and smart cities. In the foreground, there are innovations, stories, ambitions and the faces of those who work there, to get to know the added value that distinguishes each of these young entrepreneurial realities. Rocket is a journey through innovative answers to common needs, a journey designed to discover how these emerging companies develop and grow, the strategies to put their ideas on the 'launch pad' with the aim of 'taking off' and 'flying' on the strength of their business, establishing themselves on the market.

A special space is reserved for projects developed by startuppers from all over the world and presented at the Innovation Hub at Leonardo da Vinci Airport, for an 'open innovation' initiative of Aeroporti di Roma's airport management and services. In response to ADR's 'Call for Ideas' some 530 start-ups expressed interest, of which 96 (62 Italian and 34 foreign) applied to take advantage of the investments offered by ADR to support innovative ideas.

Infra Journal Newsroom - The widespread editorial staff of Infra Journal is made up of qualified journalists and experts in the sector. It aims to regularly provide data, information, trends and analysis for those who strive to put in motion the community to which they belong.

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