BOSTON — The first cargo-carrying robot marketed directly to consumers is on sale this holiday season. But how many people are ready to ditch their second car to buy a two-wheeled rover that can follow them around like a dog?
Corporate giants like Amazon, FedEx and Ford have already been experimenting with sending delivery robots to doorsteps. Now Piaggio, the Italian company that makes the Vespa scooter, is offering a stylish alternative to those blandly utilitarian machines — albeit one that weighs 50 pounds (23 kilograms) and costs $3,250.
It’s named the Gita (JEE’-tah) after the Italian word for a short, pleasurable excursion — the kind you might take to pick up some lacinato kale and gourmet cheese at the farmers market. Its creators have such trips in mind for the “hands-free carrier” that can hold produce and other objects as it follows its owner down a sidewalk.
“We’re trying to get you out into the world and connected to that neighborhood you decided to move to because it was so walkable,” said Greg Lynn, CEO of Piaggio’s tech-focused subsidiary, Piaggio Fast Forward.