Italian vending machine company Rhea partners with Chinese robo-delivery firm Neolix to debut self-driving coffee vehicle

By TechNode

Rhea Vendors Group, an Italian manufacturer of tailor-made coffee and vending machines, today unveiled its Barista On-Demand vehicle in collaboration with Chinese robo-delivery firm Neolix. Showcased at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, the new product combines a vending machine with self-driving tech as China’s coffee market expands rapidly. 

The vehicle “transforms the typical coffee consumption from a go-to-shop activity into shop-come-to-customers,” a press release accompanying the launch said Featuring a Rhea BL Doppio & Cup coffee machine, the vehicle allows users to order coffee with one click on a mobile application, with their desired drink delivered by the unmanned coffee vehicle, the companies said. Rhea and Neolix want to “ensure a vision for a more automated and sustainable future,” the press release added. The vehicle is powered by renewable energy sources.

Rhea Vendors Group, founded in 1960, is one of the largest producers of customized vending machines in the world. Beijing-headquartered Neolix describes itself as “the world’s leading autonomous vehicle maker that specializes in Robo-Delivery” and has collaborated on automated delivery vehicles for the likes of JD and FedEx, deploying over 1,000 vehicles worldwide in more than 12 countries.

“In today’s rapidly advancing world, we see the pace of daily routines accelerate at an unprecedented rate, calling for adaptive solutions to meet instant demand. This project responds to the shift and offers a new perspective on smart mobility in new retail. Instead of people moving to access coffee services, we can leverage our technology to mobilize coffee shops to reach consumers,” said Yu Enyuan, founder and CEO of Neolix Technologies. “Having been at the forefront of global mobility solutions, our aim isn’t merely to enhance mobility but also empower traditional sectors, ensuring, for example, that coffee lovers receive a frictionless experience on the go.”

The Chinese coffee market holds great potential, as coffee consumption is growing at a rate of more than 30 percent per year, according to Rhea and Neolix. 

“We are very proud of our collaboration with Neolix. The birth of Barista On-Demand is a symbolic outcome of Italian and Chinese business cooperation towards innovation and a new way of experiencing hospitality. Together, we harness Italy’s design legacy and our 60 years of coffee expertise, with Chinese tech advances to stay ahead of the age and provide a seamless coffee experience to our customers all over the world,” Andrea Pozzolini, CEO of Rhea Vendors Group, said. “The unmanned coffee vehicle showcases Rhea’s unwavering commitment to pioneering innovative solutions in the vending world. We’ll initiate this groundbreaking venture in its birthplace, already ready to understand that the coffee machine is only one part of the broader consumer experience.”

This article is provided by Rhea Vendors Group and NEOLIX.

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