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Universities Roll Out Food Delivery by Robot

Starship Technologies robot

Students at Arizona State University and James Madison University can now order food for delivery by autonomous robot, thanks to a partnership between food and facilities provider Aramark and Starship Technologies.

Through the Starship Deliveries mobile app, students can choose food and drink items from campus eateries or local merchants, and then drop a pin on an interactive map to indicate where the delivery should be sent. They can watch the robot's progress on the map, and when it arrives, unlock it through the app and collect their items. Each robot can carry up to 20 pounds, according to the company.

The robots navigate the campus using computer vision, based on a combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence and sensors, to precisely map their environment. They can cross streets, climb curbs and operate day or night, even in rain or snow. In addition, the robots can be remotely controlled by humans if needed.  

"Campus life looks a lot different than it did last fall semester," commented Ryan Tuohy, SVP of business development at Starship Technologies, in a statement. "Our robots provide contactless delivery, which can help keep students safe and make social distancing easier. We think our new campus communities are going to love the convenience that our delivery robots offer and we're excited to become a part of life on these campuses."

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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