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Ohio State U Plans Full Rollout of Robot Delivery Service After Spring Pilot

Cartken self-driving robot

Students at Ohio State University can now order food delivery via self-driving robot. The institution completed a pilot this spring using delivery robots from Cartken, a technology startup specializing in AI-powered robotics, as part of a partnership with the Grubhub mobile food-ordering and delivery platform. A full rollout is planned for fall.

The Cartken robots utilize artificial intelligence and camera-based navigation and mapping technology to traverse pavements, crosswalks and pedestrian paths on campus without human guidance, operating at up to three miles per hour in various weather conditions, according to a news announcement. Humans can step in and override the navigation if necessary, when the robots encounter obstacles such as a blocked path. The Grubhub platform allows students to access their meal plans from within their Grubhub account and order from restaurants both on and off campus for delivery or pickup.

"Robot delivery is exciting for students and helps provide even better service and innovative solutions to our campus partners," commented Eric Harper, senior director of campus environments at Grubhub, in a statement. "We've worked with Ohio State University for years on the campus dining front, and they are always an early adopter of solutions that create efficiencies for their operations and improve the student experience. We look forward to supporting our university partners and responding to their unique delivery environments as we roll out this technology at other campuses in the coming months."

"Robot delivery has been very popular on campus this past school year, validating our prediction that students would appreciate autonomous mobile delivery," said Zia Ahmed, senior director of Student Life Dining Services at Ohio State University. "We are excited about the return of robots to campus, and we have been testing the Cartken robots during the spring semester with the same vision to lower the cost of delivery, reduce the time it takes to deliver food and enhance sustainability."

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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