Pulling the Plug on Russian Robots

Where do your robots come from? You might never have thought about it before. But Grubhub has pulled food delivery robots from at least two college campuses because they were built by Yandex, a Russian company.

Grubhub needed a new kind of vehicle to deliver food on campus. Maneuvering cars to all the places where hungry students congregated was challenging, and delivering food on foot was time-consuming. Yandex was already making autonomous vehicles, and they were able to provide a practical solution. “Yandex robots easily access parts of campuses that vehicles cannot,” said Grubhub in a press release at the time, “effectively removing a major hurdle universities face when implementing new technology.”

Russia invades Ukraine

Fast forward to 2022, and Russia invades Ukraine. The US and many other nations impose economic sanctions on Russia, and many American companies stopped trading with Russia. Grubhub was one of those companies.

They’ve stopped using Yandex robots for college food deliveries, even if that meant not delivering at all for a while.

But where are your robots made?

Yandex is a major tech company. Their browser and search engine beat Google for market share in Russia. Now, however, the company is under threat. The company is technically based in the Netherlands, but is a Russian entity.

Do you know where the robots you use are made?

If you use Indramat drive and control systems, you can relax about that. Indramat was a German company, and was acquired by other German companies. But they and Bosch Rexroth, the parent company, work with companies around the world.

Many robots — not to mention the entire system connected with the robots — are made in multiple places by multiple companies working together, or working on separate parts of the project. Russia has quite a few robotics companies, and you may not be importing machinery directly from Russia, but you might have some Russian-made machinery in your facility.

Each company has to make their own decisions about how to support Ukraine and what that means for their supply chain. If you need support or service for your Indramat motion control systems, though, we are proudly based in the USA and ready to help.